Tuna Tar-Tart

I suck at everything. Probably more than you do. I enjoy experimenting with cheese and playing with glue sticks. You might know me from that other joint, LiveJournal.

Oct 182018
 

Henry said he knew he should have trusted his gut, but after dealing with me wheedling away at his willpower for three weeks, he finally cried uncle and told me to go ahead and buy three tickets to K-Expo, a Kpop/K-beauty/K-everything event that just happened to be occurring in NYC the day after we were seeing BTS in Newark. I mean, it couldn’t have worked out any better! Plus, Henry even found a discount so we were able to save some cash on the tickets.

My promise to him was that if he agreed to go, I would get the cheapest tickets, because they were being sold in tiers, with P1 being the best and included all sorts of artist engagements which sounds great but at the end of the day, I just wanted to see the performances.

There were four smaller-scale groups/performers on the bill: The Rose, A.C.E., Kim Myungsoo aka L from the group Infinite, and the reason why I wanted to go so badly: Astro!

I’ve really started to stan Astro pretty hard recently and thought it would be cool to see them while they’re still a smaller group. Henry got on board because he doesn’t mind the music but there was the promise of Korean food vendors so he was OK with throwing down for tickets, and then Chooch saw that there would be games and that was enough to win him over.

Henry had it all arranged. We’d check out of our hotel in Newark early Sunday morning, park at the hotel he booked for us in Jersey City, and take the train right over to Pier 36 in New York. All we knew was that it’s on the East River, right across from Brooklyn. The event wasn’t supposed to start until 11am so we figured we could roam around and sight see until then, check out the Brooklyn Bridge, try not to get taken. You know, regular tourist shit.

Let me tell you something: for about a month leading up to the BTS concert, I felt sick to my stomach. Nerves, you know? I always get that way when I’m going to see someone I like a lot and this was a pretty large-scale concert, so I was all worked up over it. But every time I thought about attending K-Expo the next day, I calmed down. I was really looking forward to this one without getting worked up. I just had this feeling that it was going to be a really chill event, so I felt relaxed every time I thought about it.

WOW, I HAVEN’T BEEN SO WRONG ABOUT SOMETHING IN A LONG ASS TIME.

I woke up really early that Sunday and it was a good fucking thing too, because I had mindlessly opened Instagram, as one is wont to do, and the first post I saw, right there at the top, was from the organizers of K-Expo: All That Korea. It said that there was a last-minute venue change and now the event would be held at Melrose Ballroom in Queens.

“Queens?!” Henry cried. “Now I have to figure out how to get to QUEENS?!” He was frantic and I was, at this point, rushing around the hotel room with wet hair, tossing things into my luggage so we could check out and get a head start.

Oh, did I mention that at the last minute, I splurged and bought Chooch and myself tickets to the Red Carpet event? So, KCON does this too and I always wanted to go but it’s only included in the higher tiered tickets, and it’s just basically where you get to watch the groups literally walk in on the red carpet and get interviewed. I was excited that K-Expo was doing this too, and it was only $20 so I figured K-YOLO or whatever.

Well, according to the JUST RELEASED event times, check-in for P1 and the Red Carpet was at 9am.

9AM YOU GUYS.

It was like 7:30 by this point and Henry was fucking flying down the highway from Newark to Jersey City. Luckily, the staff at the Holland Hotel were awesome and gave us really great directions to the train station.

“Where the hell are we going again?”

Pretty proud that we taught Chooch at an early age not to fear public transportation in other cities. He was a pro at the Seoul subway system by the time we left Korea! I wish I had gotten an early start with it instead of relying on cars all the time.

Also, while waiting for the train, I kept staring at that 333 Grand sign and realized that I now see Hangeul in everything.

Apparently, there was work being down on one of the stations, and as a courtesy, all passengers got a ticket for 2 free subway rides after we exited in New York!

I wanted to do the touristy “gasp and swirl” when we emerged from the bowels of the train station into Oculus (where the NJ transit and NYC transit systems meet) for the first time, but we had a fucking subway to Queens to catch. Basically, we just followed Henry.

My first impression of the NYC subway was “IT’S JUST LIKE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN!” I loved it. And there was some elder-goth sitting across from us and we kept making eye contact. She was on the phone and I was certain she was talking about us, too, because we were so clearly non-New Yorkers, so I was thrilled when Henry was like, “THIS IS OUR STOP, GO.”

When we were emerged from the subway (we had to walk down this long, empty and 100% creepy corridor and even though I was chanting, “WE’RE GONNA DIE WE’RE GONNA DIE” I secretly loved it), I was like, “WOW SO THIS IS QUEENS. SO THIS IS WHERE DAVID BERKOWITZ HEARD THE DOG AND DID THE KILLING.”

Because most of what I know relates to horror, murder, Kpop, and Days of Our Lives.

I looked at the time and it was only a little bit after 9am, plus Henry said the walk to the venue wasn’t very far so I started to calm down finally and enjoyed the time we had to make fun of Henry before we got to the place and suddenly realized that we needed him to buy us stuff. That’s how it works with us, it’s a cycle. We always bite the hand that feeds us until we need him to buy us a toy or a concert ticket and then our tunes changes RIGHT QUICK Y’ALL.

I knew we were headed in the right direction because we were behind two girls with Kpop accoutrements on their clothing and purses. Yeah, I see those dangling kpop idol Chibis. And then we heard a burst of maniacal girl-screams from over yonder, so I knew the venue was near.

And here is where everything took a turn.

I asked some K-Expo staff members at the front of the venue where to go to register for Red Carpet and she very distractedly said, “Go to the end of that line.” I looked over and saw a handful of people standing at the other of the venue, so we began to walk over there, thinking that was it, but then quickly saw that the line turned and went all the way down the block and then turned again onto another street. We just kept walking and walking, with no end of the line in sight.

Finally, halfway down the next block, we reached our destination.

“Holy shit,” I mouthed to Henry, who frowned his response back to me.

It was one long-ass motherfucking line at 9:00am.

And the best part was that no one knew what was going on! NO ONE! And then the  goth lady from the subway rolled up! SHE WAS FIVE PEOPLE BEHIND US IN LINE! We died!

As much as I know you would love a play-by-play of our time in line, I will break it down for you quickly:

  • We stood in line for over 2 hours. Oh yes, over 2 hours, when the Red Carpet was supposed to happen at 11:00 and NO ONE WAS INSIDE YET.
  • Some guy kept coming out of his house and he was PISSED that there were people lining up on his block. So pissed that at one point, he pulled out his phone and recorded all of us and then apparently called the police, who had already been called numerous times and this I know because—
  • —some All That Korea guy who looked like the villain in a K-drama with his slicked back hair, pastel suit, and bare ankles sauntered down the sidewalk and started yelling at us to stop blocking the sidewalk (THAT HIS PEOPLE TOLD US TO STAND ON, THANK YOU) and that if the cops were called again, he was going to have to SHUT IT ALL DOWN.
  • Some girls behind us were having a passive aggressive pissing match over who has had the most kpop experiences and one of them raised her voice and said, “BTS ISN’T EVEN IN MY TOP 1O SORRY BTS FANS.”
    • But then later, she was listening to Taemin’s “Move” so I turned around and said, “OK I HAVE TO GIVE YOU THIS” and handed her a sample of one of my Taemin Valentines that has my card shop info on the back and then we started talking about our biases and she was pretty cool but if you ask Chooch, he will tell you that it was awkward to watch.
  • Henry had to leave our line and go stand with strangers in a different non-P1, non-Red Carpet line and he was not happy about that but it was honestly a highlight for me.
  • Some total d-bag New Yawker meathead from the Melrose Ballroom repeatedly trolled the sidewalk, screaming at all us to move over and I was like, “Buddy where the fuck do you want us to go?” Also, HOW MUCH OF A NUISANCE COULD WE HAVE TRULY BEEN?! A bunch of fucking KPOP FANS.

Finally, sometime around NOON, the line began moving and staff members came around to scan our tickets and give us our wristbands. We passed this great sign on a creepy store and then also passed creepy Henry who was standing in a line full of young Asians. He wasn’t hard to spot with his dumb beard and Everfresh hat. Chooch and I cracked up.

After Chooch had his (SPECIAL EDITION! – he’ll never let us forget) Snapple confiscated by the same meathead bouncer who was screaming at us earlier, we made it inside the ballroom and my initial reaction was, ‘…..oh.”

It was just a nightclub, and not a very big one at that. Pier 36 had a capacity of 5000 and this one was 1,040ish (I only know this because we were standing across from a plaque near the entrance at one that had the capacity on it. I figured they much have moved venues because they didn’t sell enough tickets but there sure as fuck seemed to be more than 1000 people standing in that line out there.

Also, I saw a screenshot later on of Pier 36 responded to someone bashing them on Instagram and according to THEM, All that Korea never paid them, which is allegedly the real reason there was a venue change.

INTERESTING.

The Red Carpet started before they even got all of the P1/Red Carpet ticket holders inside, so they were REALLY off to a great start. It started pretty soon after Chooch and I got inside, when Jeff Benjamin, a writer for Billboard and self-proclaimed kpop expert came out and totally bored us with a bunch of small talk about himself. Wow, he was fucking douchey.

But then one-by-one, the artists were called out, and everyone’s phones shot up into the air.

First, we had The Rose. Admittedly, all I know about them is that they’re an actual band and that Joan went to see them with Ashley on one of the Joan Day vlogs. (If you would have told me three years ago that I would become someone who watches vlogs on YouTube, I’d have punched you in the throat; yet, here we are.)

The Rose!

Next came A.C.E. – I think they are so great! There were A LOT of people there just for them, too. Like, a lot a lot.

AND THEN ASTRO! I was so stoked for them! I might have cried a little bit, especially when Cha Eunwoo spoke English!

He’s the fourth guy from the left.

Kim Myung-soo was next and honestly, he seemed mildly irritated to be there, and I would later learn that all the artists were definitely feeling the bad vibes that All that Korea was emitting.

Here’s my snippet-collection!

After the Red Carpet, which literally only lasted for about 20 minutes, we found Henry standing against a wall behind us. Apparently, they let all the riffraff in before the Red Carpet was over so Henry got to see the end. We decided to check out the upstairs, which is supposedly where all  the vendors were, i.e. the “expo” portion of the event.

WOW. It was fucking hazardous up there to say the least. It was U-shaped up there, because it was essentially the balcony-area for the venue below, so people were pushing and shoving, trying to get through and I thought I was going to have a panic attack. It was awful, and also there were NOT 20-30 vendors as promised. We saw maybe 5 on the one side we were able to make it to, and then as we attempted to make our way back to the other side, we passed by the bar and I overheard one bartender ask the other if there was going to be food, and the other bartender laughed and said, “No.”

Wait, what? It wasn’t even 1PM yet! This thing wasn’t going to be over until after 9, and they weren’t going to have ANY food available?! We went back downstairs to see if there was reentry, and by this time, even more people had been stuffed inside there. Staff members were screaming at people to not crowd the stairwells and those people were all confused because there was literally nowhere else to stand.

And then one of those asshole bouncers told us no reentry, in a rude way that was expected by this point, so we went back inside and stood, pressed against a wall, by the entrance and watched as even more people were being let in. This was, ironically, when I first noticed the capacity plaque on the wall.

I was actually having a hard time breathing at this point because my mind was reeling with all the different ways we could perish inside this building. First of all, it was very clearly a safety hazard and I cannot for the life of me believe that the Melrose Ballroom was allowing more and more people to flood the room. Second, there was NO FOOD—how does that even make sense!? It’s one thing if this was JUST a concert that started at 6, then we wouldn’t expect there to be food. But this was billed as an “Expo” with “food vendors” and now there were no food vendors and absolutely no announcement from All that Korea telling us so.

I just kept imaging someone screaming and starting a stampede, and I know I’m a super selfish person but there was no way I was going to endanger my kid’s life by making him stay there in a building stuffed past capacity, with nothing to eat all day long, and no where to even stand or sit comfortably without fearing for your life. So I made the executive decision to leave and that is what we did, without looking back.

It sucked because that wasn’t a cheap thing for us and it was something that I was looking forward to, but come on, let’s be real. It was a clusterfuck and the fire marshal should have been called.

Later that day, I checked Twitter and Instagram and knew we made the right choice: people were PISSED. There was no clear separation of the different ticket tiers, so some people who paid $300 were relegated to the back of the room while some of the basic bitches who only had P4 (what we had) were all the way at the front. The artist engagements sounded like complete disasters, causing the artists to continuously apologize because they felt so bad things weren’t going smoothly, the P1 people were promised signed posters and they got ones that just had the signatures copied, one of those meathead security guys ended up getting fired because a video of him being racist toward the groups went viral, people were passing out, some people even went to the hospital.

Oh, and they decided hours after we left to honor reentry once they realized that, hmmm, maybe the whole “no food” thing might be an issue, but people were saying that they weren’t even able to move in order to get out of the venue, that’s how packed it was.

A bunch of people are trying to get refunds, even though it clearly states “no refunds” on the website, because when you really look at it, it’s a classic case of false advertising and they are being so shady about it. I got a canned response to my complaint about how they could have just canceled it but they did what they could to make sure fans still got to see the artists they love, etc etc, and therefore are not going to honor requests for a refund and I was rolling my eyes all the way to the Better Business Bureau website.

I don’t know what will happen. At the end of the day, I’m happy that I got to see the artists during the Red Carpet event and that we salvaged the day by having fun in NYC instead of risking our lives (not even being dramatic here) inside a shitty venue that when you google it, “Melrose Ballroom shooting” is one of the first things that comes up. But lesson learned – I will never attend another event “organized” by these chucklefucks.

Oct 172018
 

Being off work this week, I didn’t expect to see Chooch much at all because he always has places he “needs” to be after school. However, I was graced with his presence both Monday and Tuesday, but it turns out that’s just because the stupid Teen Center where he loafs (lol, such a dad word) is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and he’s on the library blacklist until Saturday.

(“All the librarians hate me! I don’t even do anything there!” he cried incredulously when explaining to me his latest banning. This time, his sentence is for two weeks and “Denice” hates him so much that she even intercepted him when he popped into the library last week to use the water fountain. “I was CHOKING, my throat was SO DRY! They wouldn’t even LET ME HAVE A DRINK!” he wailed. I don’t even want to know what goes in that library, but his latest offense couldn’t have been THAT bad because that damn library has our phone number and no one called.

And by “our” number I mean Henry’s number, lol.)

After he finished his homework on Monday, we decided to watch a horror movie. We settled on “Open House,” which is part of Netflix’s cache of shitty horror. It wasn’t the greatest, but it was home invasion and that always gets me good. Chooch and I bonded over it because it’s centered around a mom and son; the dad recently died when he went to the store to get eggs (AND HE FORGOT THE MILK THAT HIS WIFE ASKED HIM TO GET) so when Henry said he was going to the store later that night, we were like, “WE WILL GO WITH YOU. WE DON’T WANT YOU TO DIEEEEEEE.”

Of course Henry was clueless because he’s never part of our things.

So we went to Giant Eagle with Henry, which he loves because it guarantees he’ll spend 5x more money and get treated to a grand finale of Chooch dramatically reading tabloid headlines in the checkout line.

We made Henry buy some ugly squash hybrid because it looked like a corpse and he was not thrilled about it and I just looked in the kitchen and noticed that it’s gone so apparently he cooked it already and I ate it without even knowing?!!?!?!??!!?!?!?!?

Chooch came home after school on Tuesday too and after he did his homework, we were bored because Henry still wasn’t home from work so I was like, “Let’s go for a walk” and Chooch was like, “OK” and then I also grabbed the camera on the way out the door and Chooch was like, “Wait—I didn’t agree to this” but then he was posing with nary a cue from me because this is his second nature, guys.

He’s a poser.

Henry drove past us on his way home from work and covered the side of his face, pretending like he doesn’t know us. OK HENRY, YOU’RE SO COOL.

We walked down Brookline Boulevard and I wonder if people in Brookline are like HERE COME THOSE WEIRDOS AGAIN like we do about people in Brookline. I mean, it’s almost always the same people carousing the boulevard and we’re part of that, when you think about it.

OMG WE’RE LOCALS.

Henry saw this picture asked, “WHERE IS THAT” like he was all paranoid that we’re hanging out at some drug shack or something.

On the way back home, we saw two of his jerky little ex-friends who we hate because they think it’s cool to use various “gay” slang in a derogatory manner, and they harassed one of Chooch’s friends and called him fat, then got all aghast and offended when Chooch stood up for the friend. I already hated the one kid and he knows it, so both of these little brats got all nervous when they saw me walking with Chooch, and Chooch and I started giggling.

Oh, the best part is that they’re only in 4th grade, hahaha. I stared them down once from the front door and Henry was like, “Wow, you’re bullying fourth graders. I’m so proud of you.” Whatever, Blake hates them too!

The best part is that they try to prank call Chooch but they call Henry’s phone, thinking it’s Chooch’s, and leave the dumbest messages like, “Hi this is the drug store. Come to the Teen Center if you want to buy weed.” Like, OK dumbass 4th graders, good job.

The Teen Center is open today so I probably won’t see Chooch right after school but he better not be TOO LATE because we’re going to Rich’s Fright Farm tonight with Jannnnnnnnnnnnnaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

(I have a lot of pent-up energy. I love being off work but good god damn, I am not great at being alone!!!)

Oct 162018
 

After our voyage across the Brooklyn Bridge, we headed back to One World Trade Center, which is where we started our day hours and hours before. (The next blog post will talk about that, says the Queen of Writing Out of Order.)

First, we stopped at St. Paul’s, because it’s humanly impossible for me to pass a cemetery without stopping. Le duh. Duh to the max. Box of duhs.

I was low key grateful that the church was open because I had to pee pretty bad. We had to go through security inside the doors because this is America but I was happy to discover that the two security guards were super personable and just a general pleasure to interact with, even though one of them was desperate to talk to us about the Pirates and we had to do the universal “no speak this language” Arm X.

The inside of the chapel was bright and beautiful. It actually had more of a court room feel to me than that of a church. Chooch and I sat down for a bit to take it all in while Henry paced around the perimeter alone, almost like he’s afraid to be too close to us inside a church?!

I didn’t realize the part St. Paul’s played during the aftermath of 9/11, but apparently the doors were open to the cops, firefighters, paramedics, and other volunteers who needed a rest. The pews have since been removed and replaced with chairs, but one pew was on display in a back room; it had grooves and gouges in the wood, mementos left by the uniforms and equipment of the people sleeping there.

After all the walking we had done that day, we really needed a good sit, and this was a really welcoming place.

More 9/11 mementos. My eyes were heavily sweating in that room, man.

There was a guest book that Chooch and I signed because if there is a guest book, we’re leaving our mark. There was a spot to write a message so I said “put hashtag blessed. No don’t. Put bless up. No don’t. Put—-just don’t put anything.”

We’re really bad at signing guest books. I signed one in a chapel at Dollywood and Henry was so clenched, not knowing what I was writing, but it was just, “Hey God, please bring Dance Gavin Dance back to Pittsburgh.”

And now here are some pictures of buildings, including the amazing rib-like structure of Oculus, which is an amazing piece of architectural art that houses the World Trade Center station. We were staying right across the river in Jersey City and this was how we commuted in that morning. It was a pretty amazing experience when we emerged into the center of Oculus, that’s for sure! Chooch and I exclaimed like Farm Kids’ First City Trip while Henry was just like WHERE IS THE BATHROOM.

Every angle of this joint is just mesmerizing…and also a bit terrifying. It’s like contemporary prehistoric art.

SORRY, I WAS OBSESSED. SO LOOK AT THESE PICTURES.

Chooch is such a great sport about posing in front of walls, but Henry acts like he’s being fisted by hipsters.

It took a minute to get this picture because we had to stand in line behind all the Instagram models.

LOL, Chooch and I realized that Henry was asked to some girls’ picture and we were almost peeing ourselves because everything Henry does is funny to us (but, you know, at Henry’s expense).

Finally, I had pussyfooted around it long enough and it was now time to see Ground Zero. You guys, there are no words. I think the one thing we can all agree on as Americans is that 9/11 was one of the worst tragedies we have experienced as a modern nation. I still can’t believe it, even though I can so plainly and distinctly remember exactly where I was and what I was feeling when it happened.

The melancholy in the air at Ground Zero is really indescribable. Chooch and I traced some of the names with our fingers and just, for once in our lives, stood there quietly. Henry was around somewhere, being unaffected and cold-hearted.

NOTHING BOTHERS HIM!!!!!???

Oh look, here he is, ready to leave.

From right inside Oculus. I was so disoriented at first and though these people were on the roof but then I realized they were just outside, on land (lol), and we were below ground-level. I’m a smarteeee.

Inside the ribcage, yo. There are also a bunch of stores inside, like some trendy mattress store that Chooch tried to get us to go into with him because he is obsessed with mattresses and pillows. We of course kept walking while Chooch flounced right inside and sat on a bed. He said the salesgirl was awkwardly starting to talk to him but then actual customers came in so she set her sights on them and Chooch got to test the firmness of the mattress in peace.

His interests are extremely varied and sometimes domestic, like when he goes on and on about the exact Samsung fridge he wants.

Good thing he placed in “advance” on his latest PSSA test results because that boy’s gonna need to earn himself a good scholarship so he can furnish his future McMansion with the best mattresses and fridges.

And just like that, our day in NYC had come to an end, but not before standing in line to buy a ticket back to Jersey City behind a bunch of people who could not seem to figure out how the fare machines worked and it brought back sweet memories of our first subway experience in Seoul, SIGHHHHHHHH.

And then we almost died when the escalator dropped us off onto an overcrowded platform with nowhere to go and we almost perished on the escalator. I had flashbacks to being 4-years-old and getting my shoelace caught in an escalator at a casino in Atlantic City and OMG WAS I GOING TO GET SUCKED INTO THE ESCALATOR? I NEEDED MY PAPPAP TO SAVE ME LIKE HE SAVED ME IN ATLANTIC CITY! Spoiled: we ended up surviving, but it honestly felt like being in a zombie movie.

Another fucking adventure, though!

Oct 152018
 

Dear Blog,

My annual October Week Vacation is here and I spent the weekend preceding it binge-watching The Haunting of Hill House which was fine all weekend but then I forgot that I would be home alone once the work week started. And it started off real spooky.

LET ME SET THE SCENE.

It’s 7:00AM and my alarm goes off. I have to still wake up early even though I’m on vacation because god forbid my seventh grader can get a grip long enough to wake himself or dress himself. I mean, at least he can shower himself, but what happens after that is a landslide of bad decisions and color-blindness that have him stepping into tattered clothes and mixed patterns. The other day I was working from home and stupidly let him do his own thing, and that’s how, hours later, I got the shocking reveal of his Friday outfit when he came home that evening: a really nice polo shirt paired with…..sweat pants with a hole so big between the legs that calling them crotchless wouldn’t be a stretch.

So, Mommy is still clearly needed.

I had to definitely be up and ready with him this morning because he has some presentation today at school that requires him to dress nicely, which is something he thinks he knows how to do, just like washing the dishes, which caused us to have a huge row last Saturday night when I realized he was putting food-caked plates into the strainer, grandma Judy-style.

I get out of bed to wake him up and notice that his phone alarm is also sounding, but a lot of good that did considering it was on a chair outside of his bedroom and the ringer was turned down low. I shut it off and set it down on a table in his bedroom and woke him up. We bickered for a bit, like we do, and then he reluctantly slammed himself into the bathroom to take a shower. I picked out a dumb shirt for him since he already had his pants ready (sans holes!) and stupidly thought I could lay back down.

STUPID THOUGHTS! Chooch, now out of the shower, pointed out that the smoke alarm was making a weird noise. Now, the other day it was beeping so we knew it needed new batteries, but then I didn’t hear any more beeps over the weekend so I assumed that Henry did his Man About the House duty by changing them, and I thought nothing of it. But now, it was making a weird metallic sizzle, like a growl, and I started screaming IS THERE A FIRE OMG WHERE IS IT?! and Chooch was like, “THAT’S NOT WHAT IT WOULD SOUND LIKE IF THERE WAS A FIRE, JESUS CHRIST.” So I had to climb onto the chair that Chooch’s phone was originally on, pull the alarm off the ceiling and hit it with the heel of my palm.

That seemed to work.

I put it back on the ceiling and proceeded to go back into my room so that I could maybe eke out another 15 minutes of rest.

But then it was all, “WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY PHONE!?”

I yelled back that I put it on his blue table and he volleyed the sass-ball right back into my court with, “NO YOU DIDN’T. WHERE DID YOU PUT IT.”

Guys. If there is one thing I hate, not just in Mom Life, but in ALL LIFE, it’s being accused of something I didn’t do. EVEN IF IT’S JUST BEING ACCUSED OF BEING WRONG. And this is what lights the fuse on nearly all of my Fight Bombs with Chooch. In fact, if you have ever spent any time with us, you probably have witnessed at least one of our notorious WHO WILL GET THE LAST WORD tournaments. It’s like March Madness but we’re the only two teams and it just gets more and more heated.

So now we’re doing this over his stupid phone, which I KNOW I left on that dumb table in his room. My boiling blood catapulted me out of bed and I stomped into his room with that particular kind of rolling rage that only a mom can know, and I slammed my hand down on the corner of the table and shrieked, “I PUT IT HERE. YOU OBVIOUSLY TOOK IT.”

“Maybe it fell on the floor!” he screamed back, hysterics cracking his dumb prepubescent voice.

“WELL DID YOU LOOK?!?!!?”

“NO!!”

So now he’s doing a half-assed sweep of the floor next to his table while I’m screaming about how I rue the day I ever gave him a phone and I just want to fucking go and lay down BUT NO GOD FORBID WHY SHOULD I EVER GET THAT LUXURY, I SHOULD HAVE JUST WENT TO WORK.

Meanwhile, Chooch needed a belt for the pants he was wearing today and Henry was supposed to handle that AND HE DIDN’T OF COURSE BECAUSE WHY WOULD HE. Also, Henry left his stupid phone here so we couldn’t tag-team him with emasculating phone-scoldings like we normally would when he fucks up our mornings. I WAS SO ANGRY THIS MORNING!

Chooch stormed off downstairs to presumably look for his phone even though I hadn’t gone downstairs yet this morning and he was SO ADAMANT that it was me who lost his phone. By this point, I figured I was up for the day so I put my contacts in and changed into my exercise clothes. Now Chooch was back upstairs.

“CAN YOU CALL MY PHONE AT LEAST,” he asked, looking like he was on the fringe of conflagration because you know how no one can be without their phone for more than 5 minutes.

So I did, all the while barking things like OH FOR FUCKS SAKE and YOU RUINED MY MORNING and WHY DO I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING because these are things that real mature moms say. I dialed his phone and we sat there waiting. No ringing.

“YOU PROBABLY HAVE THE RINGER TOO LOW!” I screamed, recalling that when his alarm was going off earlier, I could barely hear it.

“CALL IT AGAIN!!!” he yelled, and now we were standing in the hallway, while I held up my phone to show him that I had dialed it, but still — no ringing.

I hung up and we went right back to grabbing each other by the horns when suddenly my phone rang.

We stopped and looked at my phone.

It said it was him.

Chooch.

Chooch was calling me.

“ARE YOU FUCKING WITH ME!?” I cried, and he shook his head no, eyes all wide with fear.

So I answered it.

And on the other end…

a tiny, tired voice said hello back to me.

I nearly dropped the phone, but Chooch grabbed it from me and he too said hello, only to have it returned with the tired, questioning voice of a kid.

He threw the phone back at me and I disconnected the call.

I backed into the corner and started screaming, “IS THIS YOU?! ARE YOU DOING THIS!?!?” because Chooch is always finding new ways to prank call people, but he was just as scared as I was.

Just then, my phone rang again.

Chooch’s picture popped up on my screen, just as before.

My whole fucking body went ice-cold, my goosebumps were more like gooseMUMPS.

I hit “decline.”

And then I got a text.

“Why do you keep calling me?”

Chooch and I were fucking SCREAMING at this point. I WATCHED THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE AND NOW I’M BEING HAUNTED TOO. I ALWAYS KNEW THIS FUCKING HOUSE WAS HAUNTED. THERE HAVE BEEN LIKE 5 PEOPLE OVER THE YEARS WHO HAVE TOLD ME THAT THEY FELT UNEASY BEING HERE. MY OLD FRIEND KERI WAS SUPPOSED TO LIVE WITH ME WHEN I FIRST MOVED IN BUT THEN SHE HAD A WAKING NIGHTMARE ON MY COUCH THAT THERE WERE CHILDREN HANGING FROM THE BASEMENT RAFTERS AND THEN SHE HAD HER FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH SLEEP PARALYSIS AND DECIDED NOT TO MOVE IN. SOME GOTH KID WAS HERE ONCE AND EVEN GAVE ME SOME KIND OF PROTECTION STONE AFTER TELLING ME THAT HE FELT WEIRD VIBES COMING FROM MY BASEMENT.

AND I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AFRAID OF THE ATTIC WHICH IS A FINISHED THIRD FLOOR SO YOU WOULD THINK IT WOULDN’T BE SCARY BUT IT IS!

By now, I was getting ready to just go to work because I didn’t want to be home alone, and at the same time my mind is reeling, wondering if I should call my estranged friend Brian who is closely affiliated with the Catholic church to see if he knows anyone who does exorcisms.

But then I realized that the text I got piggy-packed off of an old collection of texts from Chooch. We recently got him a new phone number and when I added it to his contact info on my phone, I forgot to take his old number out, so even though I was texting him on his current number, my phone was defaulting to his old number when I called him. And then Chooch found his phone DOWNSTAIRS because he fucking TOOK IT DOWN THERE when he went to look for the belt that HENRY DIDN’T FIX.

Oh, we laughed, you guys. Our crippling fear brought us back together as Mother and Son and we lovingly said our goodbyes when he left for school.

But now that strange kid who has Chooch’s old Text Free number is probably all scared, wondering who the fuck was calling him at 7AM.

He needed to get up for school anyway. You’re welcome, strange kid.

 

Oct 142018
 

All I can say is, thank god we are a family acclimated to walking. Anytime we visit a different city, that is all we seem to do. But for us, it works! Having an open itinerary makes me feel less rushed and more open to spontaneity, which is something that I find I struggle with at home lately.

So after we ate lunch and got ice cream, we just causally strolled around Soho and perused some boutiques. There was one shop where a French woman was selling a bunch of vintage-looking shit but she had these kind of cool purses shaped like a woman’s face with sunglasses, and Henry was like really adamant about buying me one which was weird because he usually isn’t one to want to buy me gifts so the sirens were going off, like was he cheating on me or something? But it turns out if it was just because our other plans fell through so now he was like, “Here, spend this money somewhere else.” Wow, what a gentleman. Anyway, I ended up not liking the purse once the lady took it off the rack for me to see better, because it turned out it was baseball-themed and I don’t care about baseball one way or another, so then the broad was, “Here is one in a different color” but it was still baseball-themed?! So then Henry was like, “Maybe this one then?” and now I had THREE PURSES in my hands and I did not want a single of them but I felt so pressured! I just kept murmuring over and over, “But I don’t want one” and then luckily the broad turned her attention to another customer who was questioning a scarf so I dumped the purses on the table and ran out of the door.

We went to several other shops though and I got a ring filled with candy and Chooch bought a cool t-shirt from ESNYC. This is the girl we bought it from and she was so nice and cool and I wanted to be friends with her but I’m old and uncool:

(This picture is from the ESNYC website, I didn’t take it.)

All of the shops we went into made me think of when I was in 8th grade and an avid reader of Sassy Magazine (like every alternative teenage girl in the 90s) and one of the issues had a fashion spread with crazy Mad Hatter-style hats (which I was totally into and had several that I bought at Merry Go Round; I had so many that when we had Crazy Hat Day in 8th grade, I swapped them out three times during the day, lol; I was really into outrageous hats) and FUNFUR OVERALLS. You guys, I wanted these fucking overalls so bad. They were from Antique Boutique in NYC and of course, this was back when you couldn’t go on a computer and get everything you saw in a magazine, so I begged my mom to take me to New York but SHE NEVER DID.

I just googled Antique Boutique and it’s CLOSED FOREVER.

Ouch my heart.

I guess it’s just as well because I’m not cool enough anymore to pull any of that off. If I were, I’d have bought one of the totally crazy repurposed t-shirt dresses I was drooling over in one of those shops, ugh. They were so 1980s new wave, I’m dying on the inside just thinking about them.

Here’s a picture of Chooch recording some Vine tribute that I don’t understand.

HASHTAG STUPID!

Things you stumble upon when you opt for the Walk Blindly Thru the City tour itinerary.

Drooling over architecture never gets old to me. Even in Pittsburgh, there are moments when I’m walking around and notice something cool that I somehow have always missed, a baroque* facade or an old ad painted on the side of a brick building in an alley. So I was more than content to walk around taking pictures all day long.

*(LOL like I know what I’m talking about.)

It was around here (dunno where exactly “here” was) that we realized we were very close to the Brooklyn Bridge. Our original plans for that day included waking up early to see the Brooklyn Bridge, so even though it was late afternoon at this point and prime-tourist time, we figured it was still worth experiencing, because YOLO or whatever.

Do the kids still say that?

Probably not the COOL kids.

Like the girl who sold Chooch the shirt.

On the way to the bridge, we were distracted by some lively commotion in a little plaza. Turns out there was some type of street performance going on and I wasn’t very interested because it wasn’t beautiful Korean people busking in Hongdae (#spoiled), but Henry was all, “Yo ho ho, let’s go see what’s going on, we have all the time in the world, after all, yippee-ki-ay.”

There was some troupe of, I dunno, break dancers? And one of them was going to jump over some lone Canadian broad that was pulled from the crowd but then he decided that he needed to make it more dangerous so now they were pulling out men from the crowd, and I knew, I just knew that:

  • This was going to involve a money collection
  • They were going to choose Henry

DING DING DING. I WAS RIGHT ON BOTH ACCOUNTS.

I knew this because Chooch got dragged into something similar a few years ago at the art festival downtown, where a group of hustlers masked as street performers were going to show us something really cool but NOT UNTIL WE DONATED. I can’t even remember what the actual trick was now, but Chooch was stoked to be part of.

So now, there are nine people up there and I’m like, “The fuck is someone going to jump over all of them?” OH, THEY HAD A PLAN, ALRIGHT.

First, they went around with bags and at first I thought they wanted everyone to put their phones in there so that we couldn’t record so I started to panic because OMG DON’T TOUCH MY PHONE IT’S AN EXTENSION OF MY BEING. But no, it was simply money-swindling time.

When they got to me, I was like, “Hey man, you took our money man” and pointed  to Henry  because I can’t remember the last time I had cash on me. So I guess the goal was to get TWENTY DOLLARS from everyone. TWENTY DOLLARS!!!! I could buy a fucking kpop album with that or three fancy ice cream cones or like 7 Kakao emoticon packs! SOME PEOPLE WERE ACTUALLY GIVING THEM $20!!! I know this because every time it would happen, the person that collected would scream, “STOP THE  MUSIC!” and then give that person a shout out and it was so crazy to me because I am a TIGHTWAD when it comes to this stuff.

This was like the ultimate NYC tourist trap, you guys. Why are people so dumb!?

Well, they didn’t stop there. They also singled out each “volunteer” in line, and some of those assholes also gave $20!! I couldn’t believe it. Then I started to panic because no way was Henry going  to do that but the difference between him and the people in the crowd is that EVERYONE WAS WATCHING.

So, first, when Henry is asked where he is from, he says “Pennsylvania.”

Not “Pittsburgh.”

But “Pennsylvania.”

So the guy in charge goes, “HAHAHA WELCOME TO CIVILIZATION” like we’re from the fucking hills and not a legit city, oh I was so embarrassed.

And then, AND THEN! He gave them SEVEN DOLLARS.

So on one hand I’m like, “Thank you for not giving them tomorrow’s lunch money” but also I’m like, “GREAT NOW THEY THINK WE’RE POOR PEOPLE LIVING NEXT TO A CREEK IN RURAL PENNSYLVANIA AND YOU DIDN’T MAKE AS MUCH OFF THIS MONTH’S MOONSHINE BATCH AS  YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD, HENRY!”

Still, it was worth it to get this video of him repeatedly having his ass slapped in front of a crowd of strangers in NYC!

One of my friends asked on Instagram why he was moved to the side and I was like, “Oh because that’s the POOR PERSON line.” Only the suckers who paid $20 (allllll foreign tourists btw) got to move to the front of the line, so this was how they weeded out the line, making it more realistic to jump over.

BRAVO, STREET HUSTLERS.

The guy who pops up at the end of Chooch’s video up there is the ring leader and the one who acted like he was going to do the jumping through the whole routine until the very end when some guy who didn’t participate in the act at all got up from the sidelines and completed the jump.

“You really thought that other guy was going to be the one jumping!?” Henry exclaimed, incredulous. “Did he really seem like he was in shape for that!?”

Wow, Healthy Hank. You’re one to talk!

So, $7 poorer, we continued on to the Brooklyn Bridge, which was, of course, jam-packed with tourists. I felt like we were part of a herd of cattle marching off to the slaughter house.

There were tons of people desperate to get that Instagram-worthy shot but we weren’t fucking around with that. I was like, “JUST STOP HERE *snap* OK KEEP WALKING.”

I mean, come on now. No one was going to stop walking just to get out of someone’s frame, but fauxtographers were still getting all huffy, having their amateur photoshoots bombed by passers-by.

Did you know that I’m desperately afraid of bridges? I am. And I live in a city that is literally known as the city of bridges. I force myself to walk across one every week on my lunch break and it has been helping me a little bit. (Although there is a pedestrian bridge that goes from the North Shore to the Point that always gets me good — I was on it two weeks ago and seized up when I got to the middle; my heart was crashing against my ribcage and I started to get light-headed, and then it began to rain. It was pretty fucking terrible.)

While my legs were a bit wobbly as we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, I was still able to make it halfway without having a full-blown freak out.

It was still pretty scary though.

I think I would have been scared if we were on it alone, if that makes sense.

It really was breathtaking and worth the hassle of getting dinged at by bike bells and jostled by distracted tourists.

LOL, freshly-spanked Hank.

Some guy was on the middle of the bridge with his albino boa constrictor and asked if anyone wanted to hold it. Chooch shot his hand up into the air and did the whole “Ooh! Ooh!” eager school boy routine.

“That’ll be $10,” the snake’s owner said to me and I was like, “HAHA BOY BYE.”

Chooch was all sad but dude, no. We can go to stupid Cheeseman’s Haunted Hayride and he can hold like three different snakes at the end for free! This is NYC, boy, of course you can’t hold some bridge snake for free.

Henry’s stupid elbow.

Oh, Brooklyn Bridge, where you can’t even take a picture of a plaque without some stranger being in the shot.

Anyway, that was the first half our spontaneous afternoon in NYC. I was heartbroken that our original plans fell through, but really grateful that we were able to make the best of it and let Chooch scratch some shit off the ol’ Bucket List. I didn’t get to do a lot of domestic travel when I was a kid, so I’m glad that we’ve been able to do these things with Chooch. HE BETTER SPEAK FONDLY OF IT WHEN HE’S AN ADULT.

Oct 132018
 

I woke up sick this morning which is par for the course since it’s the start of my annual October vacation week so instead of trying to write an actual blog post like I used to years and years and years ago, here is another Halloween Costume Memory. This one is from 2013 and even five years later, it still makes me twitch and cringe just thinking about how murderous it made us. Like, if there had been one more mishap or misstep, there could have been a horror movie based on our family. Brooklineville Horror. Can’t you just picture Henry losing his mind and grabbing an ax and then all the neighbors would go on record saying that he was “such a nice guy, we’re so surprised” but all of you guys would be like, “CALLED IT.”

***************************

This may have been the most stressful Halloween yet. I almost said it was the worst Halloween, but that’s not true, because Chooch had fun and even though I AM THE MOST SELFISH MOM EVER, even I am able to acknowledge that that’s all that really matters. Right? Right.

You know how I always said I would never put my child in a box, after spending most of my childhood Halloweens being chafed by cardboard thanks to my overambitious mother? (Just nod.) Well, it took seven years, but it happened. We put Chooch in a box.

But first let me say that I repeatedly asked him, “Are you SURE? Do you REALLY want to be this for Halloween?” and he kept saying yes, so I’m not really the bad guy, right? I don’t ever want him to look back on these years and say, “My mom MADE me be this and I hated it.” Not that I know anything about that.

Anyway, I know the Claw Machine thing isn’t exactly original, but I thought it would be fun to make it a little more post-apocalyptic. Have all of the stuffed animals be ripped open and bloody, etc etc.

Oh and also? This didn’t happen until last Friday night. Just the birth of the idea itself, I mean. And we were barely home at all during the weekend, which meant that Henry had three work nights to try and get this done. I’d nervously text him for updates while I was at work and he would give me vague responses, like, “It’s coming along” and “This is Henry’s girlfriend…who’s this?” and “I want a divor—-oh, wait. Haha!”

By Wednesday night though, he swore he was “like, 95% finished.” So then I was feeling kind of OK until I read the Halloween rules that Chooch’s school sent home which included the most restrictive costume guidelines ever, so why even bother celebrating Halloween!? No fake weapons (OK, I can understand that one!), no makeup, no masks, it has to fit into a bag, and no parents permitted in the classroom to help with the costumes.

Well, fuck. There was no way we were fitting a huge box into a bag and also no way he was getting this on by himself. In fact, I couldn’t even do it. Only Henry could, because only he could understand his own stupid design. Oh and also? Everything else we have laying around the house involves makeup and masks–animal masks, clown masks, gas masks. I couldn’t even resort to the old vintage ghost-sheet standby because god forbid, HIS FACE WOULD BE COVERED IN COTTON. And there was no way I was going to the stupid Halloween store….

….so it was decided that for the school party and parade, he’d wear his old ice cream cone costume.

Oh! And did I mention that no baked goods can be sent along for the class party? Everything has to be storebought and individually-packaged. No creepy cupcakes or cookies, no rice krispie treats or cakepop eyeballs. (I’m pretty sure Henry was actually relieved about this rule, though. One less thing for him to labor over!)

I know it’s not the school’s fault, and I know that these stringent rules have been implemented in schools all over the country, not just Chooch’s. But it just makes me so sad that this generation will never know Halloween like we knew Halloween. All those “Creepy Vintage Halloween” articles have been circulating on Facebook, but you know what? I would even take 1980s Halloween over what it’s become now, thanks to religious zealots and all of those motherfuckers who just can’t help themselves from shooting up schools. You assholes with nut allergies probably fucked this up somehow, too. (Kidding. Save the hate mail for next week’s blog post about Satanic abortions.)

It’s goddamn depressing. So I ranted and cried about this for a long while Wednesday night. I think Chooch genuinely felt bad for me (I do play a pretty fantastic sadsack), and he agreed to take his ice cream cone costume to school the next day.

And then I conveniently got a call from the school nurse that afternoon, telling me that Chooch puked and wanted to come home. I was 100% convinced that he puked his way out of the parade, but he insisted that he got sick off of a taco at lunch. By the time we got home, he swore that he was feeling better and wanted to go back to school for the parade and party. I asked him if he was sure at least 87 times before signing him back into school. (He’s lucky we live close enough that it’s less than a 10 minute walk.) When I was standing in the hallway talking to his teacher, some other mom was there picking up her kid and she overheard the teacher say that Chooch threw up after eating a taco for lunch.

“My son pukes EVERY TIME IT’S TACO DAY!” the mom bystander shared, so maybe he wasn’t actually Tracy Gold’ing it to get out of the parade after all.

45 minutes later, I was walking to school for the 4th time that day to watch the parade, which was scary because Henry couldn’t leave work in time so I had to GO BY MYSELF. Obviously I didn’t know anyone there because I’m so parentally antisocial, and pretty much everyone else was buddied up with other parents. So I stood next to the only other person there who appeared to have gone stag—some mom with a septum piercing.

Luckily, the parade was short…..and very anti-climatic. Tons of kids didn’t even dress up at all! And then there was Chooch, who was doing his best to smile in spite of the fact that he was probably daydreaming of killing me in my sleep.

“Everyone was laughing at me!” he told me afterward (and no, he wasn’t CRYING ABOUT IT).

“Because it’s funny! It’s SUPPOSED to be funny!” I cried. Yeah, I’m definitely going to bite it in my sleep one of these nights. You guys were all right.

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Meanwhile, the school’s stupid costume policies allowed Henry more time to finish the real costume that was supposed to be 95% done but somehow took another three hours to complete. So while Henry did things that required the use of a ruler and math, I figured I could use that time to maim and mangle the stuffed animals. I asked Henry for the fake blood, which he SWORE WE HAD IN THE GARAGE, and it turns out we definitely did NOT have any fake blood. (I know, it’s hard to believe that people like us actually forget to restock our fake blood.)

So I threw a huge fit and Henry was all, “OH YES LET ME JUST STOP WORKING ON THIS AND GIVE A SHIT ABOUT FAKE BLOOD!” He suggested I walk to CVS and just buy some, but hey, FYI: CVS replaces all of the Halloween stuff with Christmas stuff on HALLOWEEN. I even asked one of the cashiers, thinking maybe they could just snag a tube for me out of the back, but she crinkled her nose and repeated, “Fake BLOOD?” like I was asking for a Englebert Humperdinck 8-track.

Actually, that’s a horrible reference because that cashier was like 70 so she would have been happy about that.

I ran back home after that. Me! Running! In the rain! In the rain I ran!

Did I mention it was raining? Of course it was raining—it’s Halloween in Pittsburgh. All fucking day, it was drier than a nun’s kooka* until an hour before trick-or-treating was set to start.

*(Unless it was one of the nun’s in the Italian porn we may have recently watched. And by we I mean Henry by himself because I am too classy for that, obviously.)

With no fake blood to transform the bag of stuffed animals, I focused on doing Chooch’s makeup. This part was pretty stress-free because Chooch suddenly enjoys being made-up and even dug around my makeup box for the shade he wanted around his eyes. (All makeup used was My Pretty Zombie, of course.)

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The final step for Chooch’s makeup was to adhere some stuffing to his cheek, to give it that “ripped open stuffed animal” feel. Unfortunately, in order to get the stuffing, I had to cut open one of the stuffed animals, which was the whole point in buying them from Goodwill anyway. We were going to decapitate some, amputate some, etc etc. Chooch beat me to the bag and furiously dug through it, desperately yelling, “Wait! Not the dog! Not the kitty! No, not the dragon, either!!” and before I knew it, he had almost the entire bag of stuffed animals in his arms, frantically hugging them into his body.

Finally, I found a frog and tried to be all dismissive about it. “Eh, it’s just a frog,” I said with a wave. “It’s not even all that cute.” But son-of-a-bitch, when I raised those scissors up to its chest, I was overcome with a wave of anthropomorphic guilt.

“Mommy, don’t!” Chooch whimpered.

But…I had to do it, you guys. I had to slice open this poor fucking frog that already had the misfortune of being orphaned at a thrift shop. What dumb luck. As the sound of those dull blades slashing through fabric rang through the air, Chooch burst into tears. Like, REALLY BIG TEARS rolling down his poor wolf-cheeks, taking strips of makeup along for the ride.

“Oh for Christ’s sake!” Henry muttered as Chooch sobbed and I apologized profusely, more to the frog than Chooch, if we’re being honest.

Then when Chooch wasn’t looking, I smeared the frog with red paint.

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Chooch, post-cry. I had to reapply his makeup afterward. At least he got to wear his Never Shout Never-inspired wolf hat!

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So, that pretty much killed the stuffed animal idea. Luckily, we had enough pre-bloodied plush options, like the Batman that our friend Bonecrusher zombified for Chooch’s 5th birthday, one of Andrea’s zombie Barbies, Ju-On, a Jason Voorhees plush, the stuffed rabbit I bloodied for my Fatal Attraction costume last year and Chooch has still not forgiven me. All the while, I kept mouthing off to Henry about every last thing, all the way down to his audacity for even having been born. I have medals in this sport, you guys. My endurance for berating Henry is porn star-caliber.

Janna arrived right around this time, and she should really write a guest post about how comfortable and mellow it is to sit on the couch and listen to my mouth flap like your basic Roseanne Barr and Henry quietly simmers in a broth of domestic abuse and emasculation. I think my salutation as she walked through the front door was, “THIS IS THE WORST FUCKING DAY EV-HER-HER-HER-HER-ERRRRRR.”

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He insisted on putting a non-maimed dog in the front with him, but he was telling everyone its name was Murder Victim.

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I know, Chooch looks miserable in the video. But he was trying to look like a sad wolf, OK?! I’M NOT REALLY THAT BAD OF A MOM.

Finally, Chooch was situated in his box and we set off in the rain. We tagged along with our neighbor and two of her kids. Her son Josh is in Chooch’s class and they’ve known each other basically since they were born, since they’re only 2 weeks apart in age. Sometimes they don’t play very well together, but they made a good trick-or-treating duo. I was really glad for that, because this day did not need any more stress! Plus, Josh was really enthused about Chooch’s costume, which made him get even more into it.

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Too bad the rain forced him to take it off after the first block. Totally broke my heart, which I communicated by being a complete asshole and stamping my feet and threatening that I was JUST GOING TO GO HOME. Because you know, it’s all about me and my feelings. Meanwhile, Chooch was like, “Erin, Imma let you finish, but not having to wear a box in the rain is one of the best Halloween costumes of all time.” And frankly, he looked adorable as that stuffed wolf, so I got over it pretty quickly. (Not without verbally raping Henry a few more times though. Because the rain was ALL HIS FAULT! Why didn’t he smear himself with his own feces and crump to What Does the Fox Say beneath the Harvest Moon like a REAL FATHER?!)

I really don’t handle this shit well. I act like every little tiny event is my wedding/funeral. And it always ends up being fine! And we have fun! And we laugh! But there is always that hour where I am such a raging control freak bitchnugget asshole that I have no idea why I still have any friends. Or, you know, a Henry and a Chooch.

So I will summarize the rest (thank god, right) by saying that:

  • it rained like it motherfucker
  • Henry tried to go home
  • some lady in a Blazer almost ran us over and then put her window down to tell Chooch he had the cutest costume, and I said, “Thanks…FOR ALMOST RUNNING US OVER”
  • Henry and I broke up over an umbrella
  • I pointed out all of the things Henry forgot to put on the claw machine and he growled, “THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS I WOULD HAVE DONE IF I HAD MORE TIME.” God, quit your job then, asshole.
  • Henry tried to go home
  • Chooch had to take off the box before we made it off the first block and went the rest of the night as a “sad stuffed wolf”
  • Henry tried to go home
  • Janna had a cold
  • I called Henry a motherfucker (x 87)
  • Henry got to go home

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Fuck you and your purple umbrella, asshole.

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Sopping wet chaperones.

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I don’t even think they noticed it was raining. (Josh had a really cute pirate costume, and it sucked that he had to wear a windbreaker over it. I hate Pittsburgh weather.)

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We probably only saw 15-20 other trick-or-treaters in the 60+ minutes we were out there. And most houses just left out a bowl on the honest

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Tourette’s was trick-or-treating, too!!

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Cast of Claw Characters

“What did you use for the blood?” Henry frowned, rubbing his wet, red fingers together.

“Paint. It was either that or Ketchup,” I said with a shrug, and then when he gave me The Disappointed Father look, I screamed, “OH DON’T EVEN START WITH ME ABOUT THE FAKE BLOOD, YOU SON OF A BITCH.” I mean, good fucking god. Sorry that paint takes so long to dry!

****

Afterward, Henry, Chooch, Janna and I went to Eat n Park for dinner, and miraculously Henry and I quit hating each other long enough to (BRIEFLY) hold hands at the booth. And now Chooch is apparently really into eyeliner. I came home from work last night and he had it on one eye. Henry gave me the “thanks for THAT, Erin” smirk.

All in all, it ended up being fine and we had fun in spite of the rain. I mean, if I had nothing to bitch about, how would I ever remember this night?!

Did your Halloween go off without a hitch? If so, fuck you.

Oct 112018
 

When Chooch and I went to our first KCON in 2017, I only knew a tiny bit about NCT 127, but their performance was really entertaining. It didn’t snatch me enough that I felt inspired to get myself a bias and learn all their names (stage and Korean), but I gotta say: Every time NCT 127 has a comeback, I like them more and more. It’s that slow burn.

Then, when they announced a few weeks ago that they were going to be performing on Jimmy Kimmel, I thought, “Oh shit. It’s real. It’s happening. Kpop is coming for America, guys, get ready to hard stan.”

My friend Veronica was able to watch their performance through a fence and she sent me videos on Instagram, and I was super grateful. Henry at one point looked over at me and said, “Oh my god, are you crying?” Look Henry, I felt proud of those boys. God, step off.

Then they went to the AMAs and some other American shows where:

  • They were asked the uncomfortable question of “did you bring dates?” (HELLO AMERICA, DATING IS VERBOTEN FOR KPOP IDOLS.)

https://twitter.com/3dollachains/status/1049836558168326145?s=21

  • Some broad told Mark his English was really good (SHE EVEN KNEW THAT MARK IS CANADIAN THO.)

https://twitter.com/haspuwu/status/1049706173568565249?s=21

  • And some asshole spelled their name wrong:

But nevertheless, it was good to see another Korean group getting some western spotlight. Even at the BTS concert last week, RM asked, “You guys gonna watch NCT 127 on Kimmel, right?” and I thought that was really sweet because no matter how strong those fan wars can be, these Korean groups love and support each other and that’s so pure, you guys. So pure.

Anyway, in honor of NCT 127’s big American debut, here is their new video! They actually released an English version of it the other day, but my preference is this one because, the Korean language is what I love the most about Kpop, after all. (Although this version is missing the instantly iconic line “I been working with the cheese that’s the queso.”

https://youtu.be/Gif0E6jYakM

NCT 127 is only one part of the whole NCT concept — there are several sub-groups, some with entirely different members, and my head nearly cracked open when I first tried to learn it all, so perhaps that’s a story for my next Kpop boy group roundup!

Oct 102018
 

For reasons that I will get to in a separate post, we once again found ourselves roaming around NYC last Sunday, the day after the BTS concert. Why is it that every time we find ourselves in NYC, it’s completely spontaneous and unplanned?! I don’t know, but it’s kind of fun and I can’t say that I hate it.

We were in Queens when our original plans shit the bed, so we shrugged and moved on. I mean, at least it happened in a city that has a billion things to do! And I know it’s kind of dumb, maybe not something you would choose to do above all else while in NYC, but there is this ice cream place that I’ve been following on Instagram for a while and it’s on my bucket list. (And yes, my bucket list is like 75% ice cream joints.) So that became our jumping-off point. I mean, at least we had something to start with!

This place also happens to be near Chinatown, so we decided that we would go there first and get lunch.

And then something miraculous happened: we walked around for about 20 minutes while I coveted, and I do mean biblically so, all of the exotic fruit being sold on the street. CHERIMOYA! LYCHEE! RAMBUTAN! SAPOTE! GOLDEN DRAGONFRUIT!

Oh, Chinatown, you fucking snake, you.

Of course Henry was all, “WE ARE NOT BUYING FRUIT. I AM NOT GOING TO CARRY FRUIT AROUND WITH ME ALL DAY. NO, KEEP WALKING. I’M NOT BUYING IT.”

Something amazing happened to us in Chinatown, you guys. We found a place to eat that we all agreed on, before any domestic violence broke out, and in record time. It was almost surreal. This almost never happens. We usually walk until our feet are praying to be lopped off by the Nighttime Sickle-Wielding Ghoul.

Are we finally learning how to coexist with each other in public as a family?!

No, it was probably just a fluke.

It also helps that Henry isn’t one of those manly MUST EAT MEAT bastards. He’s super compliant with Chooch’s and my vegetarian needs and is usually the one who finds good veg places for us to dine. In fact, he’s the one who spotted Buddha Bodai Kosher Vegan from across the street (probably also because my eyes are bad). It was crowded when we walked in, but I was determined to suck it up, butter(substitute)cup. So many times I panic at the sight of a crowded restaurant, but when we walked in, I realized that not only was this place vegan like the sign boasted, but it was also DIM SUM. Uh, hell yeah I want that vegan dim sum, bitches, and I will stand here in everyone’s way until a table is cleared for me.

Things were looking up right away though when we got the coveted corner table. Even though Chooch was a dick and wouldn’t let me sit where I wanted because he’s 12 you guys and 12-year-olds are perfect fucking dickheads, in case you don’t have children/have never been around children/wear a child-repelling amulet.

So right away, we started fighting about this and Henry was like ENOUGH. Wow, dad has spoken.

And then our waitress hated us because she thought I asked for meat (I most certainly did not) and she got all defensive and said, “NO! NO MEAT! WE DON’T SERVE MEAT HERE AT ALL ANYMORE!” and I felt like everyone had set down their chopsticks to get a better listen at the dumb tourist who came into the vegan dim sum joint looking for meat.

And then she hated me even more because I had Henry call her back over after I decided I didn’t want the Buddha’s Delight I ordered because I knew it was going to be too much food and I just wanted to fill up on dim sum instead and she was like APPALLED, like no one had ever changed their mind in the history of restaurants existing, ever.

Luckily, the food was amazing and Henry is still talking about it, a week later. I love that he isn’t too burly and gratuitously masculine that he can’t set aside his carnivorous tendencies for an hour to nosh on some finely prepared soy and seitan. I didn’t take pictures, but we got a wonderful assortment of steamed dumplings, some type of bun stuffed with this wonderful sweet faux-meat, spring rolls, something with taro, sweet rice balls….we were fucking stuffed and happy.

Chooch went rogue and got some kind of faux-chicken lo mein and the Chinese family next to us kept complimenting him on his chopstick skills. I was so proud!

And then Henry sent Chooch and me a selca from the restaurant bathroom, which made us lose our minds because HAHAHAHA since when does Henry take bathroom selcas?!

He’s not even smiling, this is killing me all over again!

After lunch, we walked to Milk & Cream Cereal Bar, which I follow on Instagram and drool over daily. I just really love the cereal-as-dessert concept and the novelty  has not worn off on me yet, even though it’s been 10 years (10!!) since my brother Corey and I were launched into sugar shock when we ate at Cereality in Philly and by “ate at” I do mean binged our way into checking off “Gluttony” in Deadly Sin Bingo.

(For those of you too L-Z to click that link, my cereal bowl was called The Devil Made Me Do It and it was comprised of Cocoa Puff, Lucky Charms, malt balls, and chocolate syrup. And then I had to drive for 6 hours back to Pittsburgh.)

So yeah, my love affair with sugary cereal goodness runs deep, so this latest trend of Fruity Pebbles-on-everything is something that really fucking speaks to me like a Leprechaun yodeling in tongues or a Bee Gees record playing in reverse.

Milk & Cream is somewhere in between Chinatown and Little Italy…maybe? That’s what it seemed like. I do not know NYC well at all so when someone asked me on Instagram where this was, I just ignored that part of her question and answered the rest. That’s what you call The Erin Way.

So at Milk & Cream, you pick your base ice cream (vanilla or cookie dough) and any cereal from the laundry list on the wall, which is blended together and splooged out of a soft-serve machine.

I of course chose vanilla and Fruity Pebbles, with a Teddy Graham topping. Chooch went with vanilla and Apple Jacks with a strawberry drizzle. Henry shared mine because I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish it (I think my new diet has shrunk my stomach, and I’m not complaining) but then later on, Henry whined about how he wanted to get his own because he was eyeing up the Cap’n Crunch option which I didn’t notice because my eyes hone into Fruity Pebbles first, always, and now I’m pissed that Henry didn’t speak up and be his own person because I would have liked to try his Cap’n Crunch creation too! Cap’n Crunch is my second favorite cereal, ugh, you fucked up Henry!!

Just look at those specks of Fruity Pebbly goodness! And the ice cream itself was thick and rich, way more dense than I expected after watching it splooge through the soft-serve machine. Suffice to say, I couldn’t finish it and Henry obediently finished off the sloppy seconds. I don’t think I save any Teddy Grahams for him, lol.

While I would highly recommend this place to anyone who loves the ice cream and cereal crossover special, it fucking killed my stomach and gave me a sugar headache, so I spent the rest of the afternoon feeling like absolute trash. I think I should have waited longer after eating lunch!

God, I even fail at eating ice cream. This is where I am in life, you guys. Sigh.

(And of course they have their Halloween specials available now so I want to go back and feast on some dumb Boo Berry brain freeze. How quickly the stomach forgets!)

Oct 092018
 

October 9th is Hangeul Day and I would be remiss if I didn’t take some time to gush about my love for this simplistic, yet so elegant, alphabet. Learning to read and write it was one of the best things I ever could have done to better myself; it was literally like unlocking a code.

Hanguel was created in the 15th century by Sejong the Great and there is a beautiful statue in his honor in Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Plaza. Beneath the statue is a large underground museum dedicated to Hangeul, and I was so happy that we got to the see this when we were there last spring.

If only I had this much love and devotion for other languages, maybe I wouldn’t have had to copy off Mark S. during the national Latin exam in high school, lol.

Hangeul is brilliant in its simplicity and the way the letters are grouped into syllabic blocks in order to form words rather than just in a straight line is so aesthetically pleasing to me. Being surrounded it when we were in Korea honestly made me feel like I had heart eyes for real.  So in honor of this stylistic alphabetic heart throb, here are some photos from our trip that I’m not ashamed to admit I look at pretty much every day like my life depends on it.

I would fist pump the air every time I’d sound something out and get it right but Henry was never impressed. JEALOUS MUCH, HANGEUL-LESS HANK?

One of my favorite moments in Korea was when we were on the subway and that particular car didn’t have the stops in English (almost everything in Seoul is also in English, like signs and menus) so Henry reluctantly had to ask me to pay attention because he didn’t know which stop was ours.

Yesssssss.

This is one of my favorite pictures! It’s from Hongdae which also happens to be one of my favorite neighborhoods of Seoul. (I am so ready to go back. I’m off work next week SHOULD I JUST BUY A PLANE TICKET AND GO OK I WILL.)

(J/k Henry. Sigh.)

I just really love Hangeul so much. 진짜 한글을 사랑해요! 진짜 진짜!

Oct 082018
 

Today’s costume flashback is brought to you by the victory I received over the weekend when Henry caved and said, “FINE WE CAN  GO TO KNOEBELS FOR THEIR STUPID HALLOWEEN THING.” It’s from 2014, which was probably the most stress-free Halloween that Henry and I had ever since bringing Chooch onto the scene.

Here you go!

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Standing in line for Flying Turns at Knoebel’s two weeks ago, Chooch spotted a kid at the front of the line, wearing a bacon costume.

“Wouldn’t it be funny if his name was Kevin?” Chooch asked, laughing. “And he’s wearing a BACON costume?” He was beside himself with laughter at this point. “GET IT, MOMMY? KEVIN…BACON!?”

YES I GET IT! GOD.

He watched Footloose once last year so obviously Mr. Bacon has been on Chooch’s radar ever since. I mean, it’s Kevin-fucking-Bacon.

In fact, earlier that same day, as Henry was driving around the town of Danville, PA in circles, Chooch piped up from the backseat, “Don’t Kevin Bacon your way around.” It makes less and less sense the more you think about it, but goddamn did we laugh at the time!

And then, after seeing the bacon kid at Knoebel’s, Chooch said that’s what he wanted to be for Halloween: a bacon suit with a Hello My Name Is: Kevin name tag. You guys. Finally. A simple goddamn Halloween costume. With two weeks to go! No makeup needed! No DIY crossbows or cardboard boxes to turn to mush in the rain! No ONELASTTHING that has one of us running to CVS 15 minutes before trick-or-treating begins.

Last weekend, we went to the Halloween store and bought the bacon costume. I had no problem spending $30 on it because even though it seems like we’re being so economical with all of our DIY costumes of Halloween-past, all the bits and pieces that we have to collect from Goodwill and eBay add up, not to mention the stress of putting it all together. But the best part was the Chooch was so excited and proud of this costume! I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he’s not the first person to do this. But he might be the first 8-year-old to come up with the idea on his own!

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Halloween was a wet mess. It started raining late-morning and basically never let up, so the parade at Chooch’s school was moved to the gym. At first I was really pissed off about the parade in general because Henry kept saying he would probably be able to make it but of course at the last minute, his mistress showed up a truck driver showed up at work, so he couldn’t leave in time to make the parade. But then when I got to the school, I quickly forgot about being mad because THE GYM TEACHER WAS THERE AND I AM SO HOT FOR THAT GUY! So instead of sending Henry death-threats via text, I occupied myself with taking stealth-shots of my gym teacher crush while Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” played on a loop in my slutty head.

Don’t worry! There was still room for me to judge 3/4 of the parents in the room.

The parade only lasted about 15 minutes. Once the adults realized Chooch’s entire costume, there was a ton of snickering and he seemed pleased. I figured most people assumed this was a costume that his bossy parents forced on him.

“None of your friends are going to get it,” I told him the other day.

“No…but the teachers will,” he shrugged. Because that’s all he cares about: impressing grown-ups.

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It was still raining by the time trick-or-treating started and I was completely upset about it. Chooch didn’t give a fuck, but I was all, “HALLOWEEN IS RUINED! AGAIN! WAHHHH!” But really it was because I was mad that I had half-assed a baby doll costume (I was wearing a donuts-in-space baby doll dress, even) and then had to cover everything up with a rainjacket, ugh. I hate everything!

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Anyway. We wound up going around the neighborhood with our neighbor Sam and her son, Markie. Markie is kind of like the little brother that Chooch always says he wants until he spends too much time with Markie and then he turns into a little jerk-bully and it is so infuriating. I hate kids with superiority complexes and Chooch definitely has one that rears its head every now and then. I spent most of the time saying things like, “CAN’T YOU JUST BE NICE?! WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT TO MARKIE? STOP BEING A JERK.”

Ugh.

Stop making me be a MOM on HALLOWEEN.

henry

Henry was absolutely no help whatsoever.

sam

Markie’s mom has trick-or-treating on LOCK. She would quickly point out if they missed a house or if they only took one when the sign said TAKE TWO and she was on top of things when it came to crossing the street. Have you seen me cross the street? Thank god for Markie’s mom.

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A few Halloweens ago, Chooch completely bit it down a set of stairs not unlike these ones. And this year, he was practically making the trek in a DRESS. He did fall once, not down any steps at least, and Markie’s mom was on top of it. That’s just one of the reasons why everyone assumed she was my kid’s mom that night.

Sigh.

kevin

AFTER THIS HOUSE GO TO THAT HOUSE. DON’T WALK THROUGH THEIR YARD! YOU MISSED THAT HOUSE! THE LIGHT IS OFF BUT THERE IS A BOWL ON THE PORCH!!!!

Ah, the sounds of hyper-bossy trick-or-treating parents. They should have their own show on TLC.

And I thought Henry was a candy-fetching militant.

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Seriously, Chooch’s costume. It’s like a breakfast gown. I had the ingenious foresight to pin it up, but that brilliant mom-idea came the day before, so by Halloween, I had forgotten to do it. But still, people freaked out over his costume. One lady even asked to take his picture. I was happy to stand in the background and not take any credit. This was all Chooch and I let him have it all. (There were times when people would laugh and say to each other, “Oh, he’s bacon, how cute” and, after fisting their candy bowl, he would snap, “I’m KEVIN Bacon” and then sauntered away while they let that sink in.

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Toward the end of the night, we parted ways with the neighbors, and if there was a house Chooch felt like skipping, we let him skip the everloving FUCK out of it. It was cold and wet and we wanted to go home and eat candy, you know? Leave us alone.

Oct 072018
 

It’s been a week now since I saw BTS at the Prudential Center in Newark and I am still not over it but here I am, attempting to splash words across this broke-down blog, like a poor man’s Jackson Pollack.

A little bit of a foreword: even before BTS blew up here in the States, they were a hot commodity. When I first started getting into them two winters ago, I saw that they were doing a tour for their Wings album and thought, “Oh, that would be cool to see” and looked up tickets. LOL FOR DAYS, JOKE’S ON ME. Even then, at the end of 2016, their arena shows sold out in minutes so by the time I was looking for tickets, it was Resale or GTFO.

Same thing nearly happened this time too, even though I was prepared to buy the moment they went on sale. Henry and I had four browsers open and even then the best I was able to get was right at the start of the nosebleed section, unless I wanted to spend $500 to stand on the floor and no way Chooch was going to do that with me. Also, their brand value in my life, personally, is not worth that much. I would only do that for G-Dragon/BIGBANG and Taemin/SHINee.

Still, I was happy that we were even able to get tickets because those fucking scalpers are ruthless and the seats in the section we were in were being sold for 3x the amount I spent later on. I can’t even put into words how angry this makes me. Ticketmaster needs stopped. Pearl Jam, come back!!

OK, that’s my foreword. Wasn’t it fascinating.

We left Pittsburgh at 6AM even though the concert wasn’t starting until 6PM because I didn’t want to take any chances. Plus, I got an alert saying that merch was going to be set up outside starting at 9AM and I still didn’t have a lightstick because thanks to their insane popularity, they kept selling out at all the Kpop stores online and I wasn’t trying to buy a fake.

We rolled up around 1:00PM and it was already a madhouse out there. The general admission people were camping out and there was also a two hour wait to take photos in front of this banner which I was like, “Thanks but no thanks” so I just snapped this shot while walking by and that was good enough for me.

Luckily, it only took us about 5 minutes to buy a lightstick. Nearly everything else was old out! I was sad because I wanted to buy a Hoseok (J-Hope for you non-fans) face sign but I was thankful that we were at least able to buy the lightstick, which was the brand new version that has concert mode, so it changes colors in sync with whatever seat you’re in! We had to take it over to a booth and have it set up which was super convenient. Everyone we encountered there was extremely nice and I was thankful because my pre-concert nerves were firing on all cylinders. I can’t imagine how stressed I would have been if we had to get there at the crack of dawn to sit in the General Admission line. I’m not about that life, you guys. I’m an old lady now. Assign me a seat and I will show up approx. 30 minutes before the show starts, thanks.

When we went to see G-Dragon last year, I have the Silver VIP ticket which meant we got to arrive early for the soundcheck and standing in that line to get a numbered wristband shaved years off of my life. I had stress cramps in my stomach, I was sweating, I was wringing my hands – plus, we got screwed with the numbering system which I don’t even want to talk about again, but at least in the end it worked out and we were nearly right at the barricade. G-Dragon was worth that hassle for me. I like BTS a lot, but I can’t imagine having to deal with the horde of Armys down there on the floor.

After purchasing our lightstick (it was $55 so, um, we bought one to share, thanks; I might work at a law firm but I definitely don’t make a lawyer’s salary, lol), we checked into our hotel and got a late lunch, then it was finally time for Papa H to drop us off at the Prudential Center. I was screaming!!

Unlike KCON, we were able to practically waltz right in to the P-Center for this one, and I thought, “Wow, this is going swimmingly” until we got to the escalator that would take us to the 100 Section of the arena and some staff broad was all, “NO. YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE ELEVATOR” and we were like, “…..” so we followed some other people to the elevator bank where a large crowd was gathering and we were herded on to elevators like cattle – it was weird and also scary because I don’t like elevators and why couldn’t we have just used the steps!?

Meanwhile, you could hear music thumping and the shrill screams of Armys filtering out from inside the dome and I actually felt scared that the concert started early, but then when we got off the elevator, I peeked in and saw that it was literally just BTS videos playing on two screens and girls screaming like BTS was actually on stage. That was a good indication of what we were in for.

We were row 7 in Section 101, which was directly in front of the stage and not too bad for the price, pretty much the same area we always get dumped in for KCON too though.  When we found our row, Chooch walked in first and then stopped at the first seat that was ours instead of continuing on to the next one.

“I don’t like sitting next to people,” he mumbled, and  I had to climb over him to get to my seat, which was next to a very overweight lady and I feel like an asshole even complaining about this because we had great rapport and she was very nice, but between her spilling into my seat and Chooch man-spreading on the other side of me, I had an extremely uncomfortable night. My neighbor had me pinned back into my seat with her arm, but then halfway through the night, she needed to stretch her knees so she stood up and perched on the edge of her seat and it was like the heavens had opened up for me. Also, she laughed like Santa through the whole concert, which was satisfying and comforting.

My asshole son had an empty seat next to him for a large portion of the night before some lone Asian girl eventually sat there and quietly recording the whole concert without moving or screaming once. He was living his best concert life and I hated him.

Before the concert started, we listened to the girls behind us trying to explain BTS videos to their friend who was excited to be there but didn’t know much about BTS. She kept screaming, “TEACH ME THE FAN CHANTS!” throughout the night and it was so adorable. Her friend acted like she was some sort of BTS historian and said that the order of the names varied depending on the song and in my head I was like, “No they don’t” but then the other girl who was with them calmly interjected and said, “No, they’re always the same order” and I was proud of her for saying it in a way that sounded diplomatic and mature and not Reese Witherspoon in “Election”-y like I always sound when I’m butting in with the correct answer.

Henry hates it when I do that to strangers.

But in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, in Kpop (all Kpop not just for BTS), there are fan chants where everyone chants the members’ names in unison, and also depending on the song, there might be parts that everyone is expected to shout, usually just the last word of certain lines, you know? For BTS, the member fan chant starts with Kim Namjoon (the leader RM’s real name) and then goes from order of the oldest member and down to the youngest (the maknae), and you use their real Korean names and not their stage names. It always sounds easy in my head but I can never get the timing right and then I get nervous can’t do it fast enough!

Kpop is so great.

Anyway, the concert started almost exactly at 6PM, which seemed really early but again, I’m old now so this early start was appealing to me.

This is the part where I’m a basket of emotions, so I’m not sure what to even write because I can’t be objective about it. But I will say that I’m not sure how anyone could have walked out of that arena unfazed by the charms of those beautiful Koreans. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Parents Who Got Stuck Chaperoning. Their entrance was dramatic, as expected, and the show was kicked off with a high-energy performance of “Idol.”

This is not my video – I was sitting too far up to get any good vids so I only took some short clips to send to Henry throughout the night which he GREATLY APPRECIATED especially when it was a close-up of his bias Jimin:

And you guys, it was here during their opening song when I was overcome with emotion and realized that I was fucking shaking with tears streaming down my face. I mean, I have liked BTS for almost as long as I’ve been into Kpop, but never to the point where I would call myself Army (that’s the name of their fan group, I don’t think I ever really explained that) because Armys are really insane and possessive of BTS and also most of them frown upon multi-fandoms which basically means, “I like BTS but I also like these other groups too.” You can’t do that, and I’m sorry but I’m VIP (BIGBANG fan) above all else!

Still, I have always loved BTS for their charisma (their personalities are awesome) and sick choreography (a lot of it is done by J-Hope, my bias, who got his start as a street dancer). BTS were the true underdogs in Kpop, they were met with real adversity from the moment they debuted and pretty much all the way up to last year when they started to break into the Western market, which was the biggest fuck you they could have given their haters. So while it’s mildly annoying that all of a sudden everyone and their soccer mom is blasting “Idol” in their minivan (probably the Nicki Minaj version at that), I can’t help but feel a sense of pride for them, you know? They struggled and received so much hate from their peers and Koreans in general for speaking out against the older generation and social issues, and now they’re basking in the limelight — but they earned it. And they deserve it.

However, a lot of other Kpop groups, and Korean artists in general, also work just as hard and are just as talented. So please give them love too, America!

LOL, I took these pictures for Henry during Jimin’s solo.

Oh! When we arrived at our seats, there were banners waiting for us. They were made by a group of Armys and during “Magic Shop,” a prompt came up on the screen to tell us all to hold them up so that BTS could see how much they mean to us. It was really cool and I loved being a part of it!

Oh shit, I’m crying just thinking about this, haha.

I recorded a bit of Taehyung’s solo for Janna because that’s her bias, lol. (I forced her to choose one and prefaced it with, “but you can’t pick J-Hope or Jimin, because Henry and I already claimed them.” Lol, I’m a good friend.)

SETLIST

  • Idol
  • Save Me
  • I’m Fine
  • Magic Shop
  • Trivia: Just Dance (J-Hope solo)
  • Euphoria (Jung Kook solo)
  • I Need You
  • Run
  • Serendipity (Jimin solo)
  • Trivia: Love (RM solo)
  • DNA
  • Medley: Boyz With Fun/Fire/Bapsae/Dope
  • Airplane Pt 2
  • Singularity (V solo)
  • Fake Love
  • Trivia: Seesaw (Suga solo)
  • Epiphany (Jin solo)
  • The Truth Untold (V, Jimin, Jungkook, Jin)
  • Outro: Tear (RM, J-Hope, Suga)
  • Mic Drop

Encore:

  • So What
  • Anpanman
  • Answer: Love Myself

Songs I wish they had performed:

  • Go Go (they did this during night one, ugh!)
  • N.O.
  • Paradise
  • Dimple
  • Spring Day

Rather than spend this whole sunny October Sunday ruminating over every single song performed, I will tell you my favorite parts in no particular order because it changes with the same frequency as my moods.

  1. Save Me – this was the song where BTS really clicked for me. Before that, I knew their songs, but I wasn’t on board with both feet yet. When I first saw the video for this song though, I realized halfway through that I was crying. And yes, I cried during it last week too!

2. Dope – this song gets me so hyped! It’s an older one, and one of my favorite kpop cardio routines is to this song.

3.  Jin’s solo – with so much talent in one group, some of the members tend to be overshadowed at times, but this solo is a big fat reminder that Jin’s out here, and he’s ready to sing his beautiful fucking worldwide handsome face off. I was sobbing by the time this ended.

4. Jungkook’s Gratuitous Shirt-Lifting: I’ve seen him do this a million times during the promotional run for Fake Love, but getting to be there in that arena and screaming my throat raw with all the other girls when it happened in real life was amazing.

5. The “Love Myself” finale – singing this along with them was like the next generation Kumbaya without the corn. These boys promote such a positive, inspiring message and they truly just want us all to be kind and love ourselves.

Again, not my video. I just don’t have the stamina to devote so much time to camping out and standing around idly just to get that close at a concert (though check back with me in a few years after BIGBANG has their post-military comeback). It reminds me of back during the summer of 2001: I had tickets to go to the Rolling Rock Town Fair with this guy Ken, and my friend Wonka really wanted to go but it was sold out. Stone Temple Pilots were headlining that year, so tickets were hard to get. I was sad that Wonka couldn’t go because I didn’t know this Ken guy that well and it was awkward as fuck, to be honest. But then as we were leaving that night, we passed right by Wonka! I told him I was so happy that he was able to get a ticket after all, and he said he didn’t actually get a ticket but he went out to the field where the festival was taking place the night before and hid in a porta potty ALL NIGHT LONG until the next day after the concert started. That is some fucking dedication. Would I sleep in a porta potty for BIGBANG? That depends: is it clean?

I was on a fucking high for days after this and just kept saying over and over that I couldn’t believe I got to see BTS. Kpop has changed my life, as dorky as that sounds, and I am so grateful for the beautiful people and experiences it has given to me. It’s the best medicine. (Too bad insurance doesn’t cover it because shit’s expensive.)

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In all honesty, every single second of this concert was a goddamn delight. Chooch was a bit less into it than I was and admitted afterward that he didn’t know many of the songs, but that now he thinks he at least knows all of the members’ names.

“Wow, even your DAD knows all their names,” I said.

“Sorry that I don’t study Kpop groups like dad does!” Chooch scoffed.

Henry is definitely more Army than Chooch.

Oct 052018
 

This Wednesday, we went to Hundred Acres Manor with Janna. We were very lucky because we were the first in line, exceptions of the V.I.P pass people. (It is every time, first Kennywood, now Hundred Acres Manor.).

When we entered, the whole beginning was the same as every year, we get an intro of how SPOOKY the manor is, then we enter a lift, which proceeds to drop all the way to the bottom. When we exit, we walk through a long SPOOKY dungeon-esque passage way, which is the same each year as well.

At one point, we caught up to the group in front of us, we were inside an old London area, with men trying to sell us water with rat diseases. While the group in front of us were going super slow, the group behind us caught up, too. These people were not annoying at all, if anything they didn’t even speak from what I heard. As we walked through the nicely decorated old London, we entered through a cult graveyard and worship church. The members of the cult asked us who our sacrifice was, I said my mom was a good candidate, but Janna and my mom thought otherwise. THEY THOUGHT I WAS! 

Personally, I don’t want to get sacrificed, but apparently everyone else does. ):

In the cult chapter, we saw a ton of dog shrines. I thought that these demon dogs were very cute and fluffy. The ground was dirt, and since it recently rained, it was very muddy. I never got to change my school shoes, so I got my shoes pretty muddy. The people in front of us all of sudden disappeared, and I heard a chainsaw rev. I told mum and Janna that I heard a chainsaw man, and mum got scared. The kid in the group behind us apparently worked there and it was his night off, so he decided to come visit, he said, “Trust me, it’s not happening yet,” and my mom believed him! Janna and I didn’t, though because we could smell the smoke. And there he was, hiding behind a glass barrier. I ran for my freaking life, which was a terrible idea because everyone knows that running will only make them chase after you. I turned every corner as fast as I could until I stopped and hit a corner, he stopped at the corner across from me and let me leave. Mum hated that kid after he lied to our faces.

The quarantine area has returned for the following year! It was better last year, though. This year nothing happened. It was all alien animatronics and no live people. It was very disappointing.  After about 5 minutes of walking through nothing of importance, was another room with a chainsaw guy. He was wearing a pig mask and my mum ran for her life just like I did before. He chased her down many hallways, until she hit a corner and hurt her shoulder very bad. All of a sudden, another chainsaw guy appeared. Now she was cornered, with a wounded shoulder and dust particles from the air of the chainsaw. She was finally let free, as they would miss their other victims.

As we continued on, the actor from the next room chased the group in front of us, so we were left alone, until the person came back and jumped through the door, scaring my mum more than half to death. That scared her more than the chainsaw guys.

Soon after though, was a voodoo hut, which was moving on water! It was also very dense with smoke in the room. My eyes were burning up and I was coughing, but the voodoo witch just tried to SPOOK me. My mom didn’t believe it was moving because she thought she was losing her mind after the things she went through before.

We exited the haunted house and had to get the picture (as seen above) inside the pumpkin to remember this day. Some rando was standing at the convenience stand, so my mom asked him to take a picture. He took multiple, but when he gave my mom her phone back, he said that she got a notification about Navy Seals. It was just CNN. So I called him, “Nosy.

In conclusion, Hundred Acres Manor is very uneventful until the end. (ALSO JANNA THOUGHT SHE WAS SAFE…. for now)-

Oct 042018
 

I still haven’t quite come back down from this past weekend. Every time I sit down to write in here, I get sidetracked by watching YouTube videos of the BTS concert which is baffling to Henry because he’ll never understand post-show sadness and my inherent need to relive every single of the night by watching shaky fan-cam videos on YouTube.

And then I realized, shit fuck goddamn it’s October and I’ve been so caught up in other things that I hadn’t even went to a haunted house yet or EVEN MADE MY HAUNTED HOUSE SCHEDULE?? What is happening to me. It’s been a weird week. So instead of recapping BTS, K-Expo (oh, so much to say), and NYC, I’ve been frantically researching haunts, scribbling out a shoddy Halloween calendar, and then I had to finish writing in my haunted house journal from last year because I hadn’t recapped the last two we went to so I cheated and printed out Chooch’s blog reviews and taped them into my journal. I’m a failure.

I’m not even decorating for Halloween at work this year! Who am I?! (The stuff in the pictures up there are always on my desk so I can’t count that as “decorating” for Halloween.)

We did finally (lol “finally” like it’s so late) go to our first haunt of the season last night and I’m sure Chooch will be writing about that on here just as soon as I find incentive for him. I have to put all my thoughts into that journal up there but I will say this:

  • I hit my shoulder off something when I was being chased by  two savage chainsaw guys and it is YELLING at me right now;
  • When Henry picked us up (he went to the craft store while we were in the haunted house, lol), Chooch and I started telling him about all the things that happened and  then we started fighting about it because we can’t even agree on what happened in a haunted house. #siblingsormom&son

In other news:

  • I started watching a Kdrama called “Wife I Know” without really knowing much about the premise and it’s making  me really sad! Basically, this guy is like, “Ugh my wife is a monster” and she’s always screaming at him and he has to play his stupid video games in secret because she’ll get mad, and because of some wormhole thing that is confusing, he gets transported back to 2006 on the exact day he meets her but he changes things on purpose so that they don’t meet and he ends up going out on a date with another girl he liked back then, the “one who got away.” Then he wakes up in present day time, and by altering that one day, he’s now married to the second girl, but the original wife comes into his life by getting a job at the same bank he works at, so now he has to work with her and is all freaked out because she doesn’t obviously doesn’t know that in another dimension or whatever, they were married, etc etc etc. It makes me sad though because the whole point is that he’s rediscovering her and remembering all the things he used to love about her, and then he realizes that she wasn’t a monster, but it was him who MADE her act like a monster. So then I start thinking obviously about what would have happened if I went the “normal” route and went to college right after high school instead of getting a full-time job in an office, would Henry and I still have eventually met?! So I watch this show and feel all sentimental and think that I should be nicer to him but then when I see him I’m still like, “MAKE ME FOOD. YOUR HAIR LOOKS DUMB. TAKE ME TO KNOEBELS FOR HALLOWEEN. I HATE YOU.” Lol. Oh, Erin.
  • The new diet I started last week is going well, barring the frenzy it threw me into when I forgot that I was going away for the weekend. I’m back to eating proper meals and snacks now, and not like, cottage cheese. Hey, I have to make due with what the road trip gas stations provide, OK?! Anyway, it’s only been a week and two days but I have dropped a handful of pounds without feeling like I’m going to die, so that’s good! The last time I tried a regimented diet, it was Weight Watchers and it worked sort of well at first but I found that as a vegetarian, it was difficult to follow and left me feeling malnourished and lethargic. This one (Noom, if you’re interested) is helping me understand shit better and is kind of fun, sort of, but not really, no diet is fun. Anyway, I felt like I needed to do something to jumpstart me back into things because even though I’m active, my willpower at work was pretty much nonexistent and let’s just say I was leaving lot of wrappers behind in my trash can at the end of every day. Way too much snacking. It’s too soon for me to recommend this app to anyone but I’ll give an update in a few weeks! They promise to have me at my goal weight by December so we’ll see – that’s 15 pounds away and like I said, I shed weight at a snail’s pace. I mean, it took me 10 years to lose the last bit of my pregnancy weight, so….
  • (Noom says I need to share my goals or whatever so here I am, sharing. This feels very 12-Step’ish, not gonna lie.)
  • Last week, my friend Nate committed a huge crime at work. I’ll set the scene: It was a Thursday afternoon. I was standing by Debby I’s desk talking to her, Lori and Regina while holding my BIGBANG coffee cup. Nate strolled over and gestured at my cup. “Hey, did you see them on Good Morning America?” he asked, innocently as criminals are wont to do. “Well, that must have been amazing considering four of them are currently serving in the military because THIS IS BIGBANG NOT BTS, NATE!” He was profusely apologetic and said that he’s not very well-learned in the boy band area and that I couldn’t blame him too much because he wasn’t sitting near me back when I fell into the Kpop Black Hole so he wasn’t educated along with my other work-peeps. I guess I will let it slide this once. I do appreciate that he even wanted to talk to me about it though!
  • TAEMIN THURSDAY:

  • I just scrolled through my Twitter to see if there was anything else I wanted to “talk” about on here today and then I remembered that all I tweeted about for days was that asshole Kavanaugh and #metoo so now I’m stressed out all over again at work. I’m going to need a wig soon, the rate my head has been stress-shedding its hair.
  • Will hijacking Henry’s phone ever be unfunny to me and Chooch? Smrobably not. Henry got a new phone and left his old one on the coffee table but it was connected to WiFi so of course Chooch was like, “DAEBAK let’s post something on his Instagram.” Except that he didn’t say “daebak” because I’m the only one in the house who uses Korean words. Chooch was looking at Henry’s pathetic camera roll and said, “He has the dumbest pictures on here. I’m posting this one of the coffee creamer.” At first I started to tell him not to but then I remembered that I don’t care and screamed, “USE THIS AS THE CAPTION: I DRINK IT STRAIGHT!” Oh god, Chooch and I are so hilarious, can you even stand it. It took Henry like 6 hours to notice that we even did this because he has barely any friends so it’s not like his phone blew up with notifications, lol.

The best part is that Henry doesn’t even drink coffee, but he sends me pictures of creamers when he’s at the store to see if I want him to buy any. ISN’T HE A DOLL.

  • Whoa real time update: I went outside on my break and knew it was supposed to rain so I brought an umbrella, but what I didn’t  know was that it was going to THUNDERSTORM AND DROP BUCKETS OF ICE COLD RAIN ONTO ME, THE VOLUME OF WHICH NO UMBRELLA COULD HANDLE. Let’s just say I’m soaked. Like, my shoes were so thoroughly drenched that I eventually quit trying to jump over puddles because it was impossible for my feet to become more wet, and it wouldn’t matter anyway because the puddles eventually turned into straight up pools. My pants are plastered to my skin, it’s so uncomfortable. I came back to the office looking like a sad, wet orphan rat and my co-workers were so sweet about it and no one made fun of me! The perks of switching desks, you guys! No disparaging Glenn commentary! Anyway, Nate came over with his cardigan for me to wear and Lori gave me one of her big scarves in case I wanted to use it as a makeshift skirt so I could dry my pants. They both kept saying they were concerned I wouldn’t be warm enough, since the office is so goddamn frigid on the daily and we all complain about it but the 2% who are always hot perpetually win the thermostat war. Then I went to the kitchen to make coffee to aid me in the whole “warming up” challenge, but I forgot my work badge on my desk AND I GOT TRAPPED IN THE ELEVATOR BANK and then Wendy of all people walked by and helped me so now she’s all smug about that. I’m having a bad day! I just want to go home and watch kdramas. OMG another co-worker just walked by on her way out and said I could borrow one of her suit jackets if I need extra warmth, everyone is so nice today I could just cry. <3
    • Dear Nate, I take back the bulletpoint where I called you a criminal.

I took this back when I was still dry. I can’t remember what that felt like though.

Oct 022018
 

Yo yo yo, I thought it would be fun to repost some of Chooch’s old Halloween costumes on here this month, since he’s past the age where it’s cool for MOMMY AND DADDY to make his costumes and now he just wants to go trick-or-treating as A Kid in a Mask.

I’ll always be proud that his costumes of yore were mostly a full-family collaboration and he had a big part in choosing the concept. I think my favorite and crowning glory was the year he decided to go as “Death By Stereo,” literally a scene from The Lost Boys (the best vampire movie of all time, fight me).

Anyway, here it is, from 2015!

You Missed, Sucker: Halloween 2015

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Kind of random, but The Lost Boys was one of the first movies that Chooch became obsessed with when he was real little. It happened kind of as a joke: I had just brought the DVD home after lending it to Bob from my old job and I asked Chooch if he wanted to watch it. I mean, he was 2 so he basically just responded with a Maggie-esque suck of his pacifier. Then Henry came home and saw that we were sitting on the couch, all up to our necks in glorious 1987 vamp action, and he was just like, “Why are you letting him watch this? What is wrong with you?!”

Chooch has always been down with horror movies. There have only been two times in his 9 years where he was legit upset:

  • once when he was about 4 and watching The Eye (the real version, not the crappy American remake),
  • once when he was about 7 and watching Children of the Corn and made me turn it off after the dog dies at the gas station (spoiler but not?)

And The Lost Boys was his freaking JAM when he was a toddler! I can’t tell you how amazing it was to watch a vampire movie 99 times a week instead of some Disney bullshit. So then I bought him the Michael and David figurines, and he would make David say, “Maggots, Michael!” in his cute little baby voice full of impediments.

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And then he had a Lost Boys cake at his third birthday party.

The older Chooch gets, the more of the movie he gets, as well. Like, the milk carton close-up. The grandfather’s famous last line of the movie. HOW AMAZING COREY HAIM IS. He was really excited a few weeks ago when he slept over his cousin Zac’s house and The Lost Boys was on TV, so he got to watch it with everyone there. We were talking about it the next night, standing in line for a haunted house of course, when he started acting out the Death By Stereo scene. And then it was, “That’s what I should be for Halloween.”

***

That said, I had officially retired from any and all involvement of Halloween costume planning and prepping. I felt like last year’s Kevin Bacon costume was a solid way to go out, you know? It was a strong costume, and also extremely easy to pull off. The best.

But man, I loved his idea. It was a CHALLENGE. Plus, how could I say no when it involved one of my all-time favorite movies, ever? So I turned to Henry and said, “Well, Chooch finally decided on a costume.  Good luck!”

I mean, I at least sketched it out for him so he had an idea of what to do, OK? But every last person who knew about this plan was like, “How in the hell….?” I was only 45% confident that we were going to pull it off, and 100% confident that barely no one would get it. But, it’s what Chooch wanted and I thought it was really fucking awesome. This was definitely a costume I could get behind and I was on Henry’s back about it. Which is unusual for me, that whole nagging thing.

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The sparks were the hardest things to visualize, but I liked Henry’s interpretation.

The Lost Boys

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This was the first year that we had our shit together in enough time to participate in the neighborhood’s Halloween parade. Seriously, after nine years! Usually we’re still slathering makeup on his face or stuffing him in a box right as the first batch of trick-or-treaters are clambering up our front steps. We were only a block away from our house when Chooch tripped on absolutely nothing, fell, and chipped one corner of his styrofoam speaker. Luckily, we had  to walk right past a CVS on our way to the boulevard, so Henry ran in and bought some duct tape for a quick repair.

On the walk down to the parade’s start line, Chooch got lots of compliments, but you could tell that no one was really getting it. But then, during the parade, I overheard a man with a burlap sack on his head say to his friend, “The Lost Boys! Ha!” and I did a quick fist pump at my side. Later, a lady turned around and asked, “Is he from the Lost Boys?” YES YES YES HE IS. THANKS!

Meanwhile, some broads were walking around during the parade and handing out papers to some of the kids. One walked over to me and said, “Write his name on the back on this and then have him come over to the stage after the parade and turn it in.” Then she looked at Chooch and started cracking up. I looked at the paper and it said “Funniest Costume.” I wanted to argue her on this, because he wasn’t FUNNY, but I just shrugged, wrote his name, and handed her the pencil back.

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We went light on the blood because he was going trick-or-treating with his cousin Zac and I didn’t want him getting that shit in my car. Also, we forgot to buy fangs because it would be weird if we actually had everything right. But then I had a rare moment of brilliance and started stuffing my fists into the pockets of all of my jackets before I was finally rewarded with an unopened package of fangs from Castle Blood. THANK YOU, CASTLE BLOOD! How poetic!

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During the parade, Chooch saw some of his friends from school who were just like, “WHAT THE HECK?!” and “I thought you were cotton candy?!”

No matter where we stood in the parade, my nemesis Candy Cane kept appearing right in front of me. She is just the worst. At one point, she was walking toward me with such purpose, I actually considered the possibility that she limp-storming over to slap me in the face, but then she changed directions right before walking into me and crossed the street. Henry saw this happen and thought it was hilarious but it put me in a bad mood, and really, I don’t need much help being put into a bad mood.

The whole parade was kind of pointless and I kept getting stuck behind broads pulling wagons stuffed with children behind them and I was just not built for walking at a parade pace. Luckily, it didn’t last very long and then it was award time. Funniest category was first, thank the lord! My threshold for rubbing elbows with neighbors is pretty non-existent and my head was starting to hurt from clenching my jaw.

Chooch was up against two kids that didn’t have shit on him, and a baby. Henry and I looked at other and cringed because we fucking hate each other, and also because we knew that the baby was going to win.

Because it’s a baby. Babies beat everyone.

So yeah, the baby dressed as a turnip won, but Chooch came in second! The idiot announcing the winners said, “And coming in second place, for $40,000….” and Chooch whipped his head toward us and mouthed, “OMG!” We were like, “No. No! Not $40,000. It was a JOKE.” Ugh.

But man, we’re still hearing about how he was defeated by a BABY.

“And how is a TURNIP funny?!” he cried the next day. I mean, I know. I get it.  People like us never win, my friend.

Maybe he should save this and wear it to the next horror convention. I don’t know.

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De-wigged, winnings in hand.

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Sucks that this part was covered by Chooch, but Henry even had lights in the stereo so it looked real. TGFH*.

*(Thank God For Henry. Maybe that will be my next series of Henry pins!)

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Chooch couldn’t even tie his shoes on his own with the stereo strapped to his back.  But between his cousin whacking at it with a machete and Chooch’s own natural clumsiness, one of the speakers broke again so he decided to just take it off after about an hour of trick-or-treating.  And then Henry tied Chooch’s wig back because it kept falling into his face, so at that point, he just looked like a vampire Michael Jackson.  But he had fun, and just enough people knew what he was to make it worth it.  And now I’m going back into retirement.

I’m so glad that I don’t have to put this in the “epic fail” category.

Oct 012018
 

Me: Should I liveblog?

Henry: No.

That means yes! So here I am! What a whirlwind weekend with super highs and abysmal lows! But that will come later, on another day. Today is all about “what happens in the car, gets outed on the Internet.” Because we’re such an exciting family.

Right now it’s 8:37am and we’re only about 5 miles away from the Holland Hotel that we just checked out of, sitting in Monday morning traffic. This is already so exciting! And now Chooch is screaming at Henry for talking while chewing which is his latest pet peeve and he hones in on it even if Henry is like two rooms away.

Here is this cool Bowie mural that I wanted to get a better picture of but we’re stuck in traffic:

8:50am: I miss BTS. :(

9:32am: I haven’t eaten anything since the ice cream we got yesterday at 3pm, just saying. I AM NOT IN MY RIGHT MIND. Henry was like, “You look really skinny in those jeans” – yeah because I have barely eaten at all this weekend so way to encourage my quasi-anorexia, idiot.

10:10am: just stopped at the same Wawa we always stop & fight at when leaving NJ, and we almost made it out of there incident-free but Chooch stepped on the back of my shoe and it came off and this is the 37394th time this happened this weekend and I was in NO MOOD. But at least I got a hard-boiled egg and cottage cheese lol omg so sad.

10:34am: Driving through Bethlehem, PA and I screamed, “IT LOOKS LIKE OCTOBER HERE, AW!!” because finally, changing leaves! Henry mocked me saying “aw” and I shot him dead with my eyes because fuck you for taking away the first joyous moment I’ve had on this dumb Monday.

11:04am: Made a pitstop at Vegan Treats in Bethlehem because it’s been on my fat girl bucket list for years and we never have time to swing by when we’re out this way.

They’re supposed to be like The Best vegan bakery in all creation and they have made cakes for lots of bands I like so I was excited!

The cakes were super cute and expensive but we expected that much. The girl working there was very nice and didn’t have that “you’re not vegan enough for me” attitude that I hate about lots of punk vegans. So I didn’t feel uncomfortable.

Chooch was inexplicably pouting, literally the only kid who would ever be unhappy in a bakery is mine, I’m so proud. But then Henry gave him the car keys so he could go and get his phone which is what it all boiled down to! KIDS THESE DAYS, I CANT STAND THEM.

We picked a good time to stop though because all the cakes were Halloween themed!

We ultimately chose one red velvet, confetti, black coconut ash cheesecake, and a peanut butter bomb which is supposed to be one of their most popular items.

$35 for these four things and a cookie. Pretty much what we expected. Was it worth it? Not even a little bit.

As most vegan baked goods are, these were wayyyyyy too overly sweet. I took one tiny bite out of each one and it was more than enough. Maybe the donuts are better? I generally really like vegan donuts so maybe.

If you’re ever looking for a really amazing vegan cake, just go to Zenith in Pittsburgh. They’re just bundt cakes, nothing flashy, but when the product itself is amazing on its own, why gild the lily?

12:03pm: At Sheetz waiting for Henry to shit lol.

Everyone stares at us here.

Henry was excited because he had just enough cash for our drinks but as the lady was ringing him up, Chooch came sprinting back with a final hour bag of chips and Henry yelled GODDAMMIT NOW I HAVE TO USE THE CARD CHOOCH. It was glorious, and the cashier was happy to be a part of it.

Also Henry said there was a girl in there wearing a BTS shirt and I wanted to talk to her but I guess she went into the bathroom and I wasn’t sure how extreme that would be to follow her and talk to her through the stall so we just left.

Bye Sheetz.

12:08pm: Henry threw out what he had left of the Wawa iced tea in order to open up a spot in the drink holder for his Sheetz iced tea. “Wawa’s iced tea isn’t that great anyway,” he said to himself, justifying his actions. Wow. I’m shocked to hear him say that because we always have the Sheetz vs Wawa argument on these NJ/NY trips and he always white knights Wawa. Always. I’m sorry, but I think Sheetz is better all-around!!!!!!! I AM GOING TO GET A SHEETZ TATTOO TO PROVE IT!!!!

1:03pm: At another Sheetz because we’re real road warriors. I don’t know what that means. But I do know that it’s October 1st and I can’t wait to get home and start going to haunted houses!!

Anyway thank god for Sheetz MTO wraps and nutrition facts on the website. Logging food has never been my strong point.

1:36pm: Trying to get Henry to tell me stories about when he was dishonorably discharged from the SERVICE but he claims that didn’t happen. Are there polygraph apps out there because I think he’s lying. “And I didn’t go AWOL either, stop making shit up,” he just mumbled before asking me to put different music on because we’ve been listening to BTS b-sides for the last hour and Henry only likes the popular mainstream stuff that other Americans enjoy because morning TV shows & Top 40 radio stations tell them to.

2:38pm: Sorry I was off the grid for a while dealing with Etsy shipping bullshit — you have ONE JOB, postal workers!! ONE JOB! Ugh shipping is such a headache and if I ever just shut down all of my shops you’ll know it’s because I can’t deal with postal heartburn anymore. (Or because the Feds found me.)

Anyway, my favorite part of road trips is when Henry tries to teach other motorists how to merge by yelling in a car with closed windows.

Also x2 the last time we were coming home from New Jersey, my water jug lifestyle was born! Still proudly jug-guzzling three mths later. (My coworkers can attest to this. I now how people from the other department on our floor checking in to see how much more I have left to go, ha.)

3:28pm: Operation How Many Sheetz Can We Stop At is going strong.

Yeah Bitch Boy, clean that windshield.

Also I think this is the original Sheetz in Altoona and we usually fight here too.

3:41pm: Henry tried to act cool by leaving us at Sheetz and we were like “DONT CARE HUNNY.” Anyway I had my afternoon snack of “banana and hard-boiled egg” – how jealous are you? If anything, my stomach has shrunk since starting this dumb thing a week ago.

3:53pm: MUCH MOUNTAIN.

That’s a creepy American flag in the middle. Makes me feel uncomfortable every time I see it because I can only imagine the strange trump-supporting forest-dweller that stuck it there. Probably raccoon skins and empty moonshine jugs nearby.

4:59pm: Supposedly one more hour till we’re home barring anymore SHEETZ STOPS. This weekend has been a real—

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Also I got excited because Chooch told me he changed Henry’s Instagram password the last time he was on his phone but then he said he was just kidding ugh I wanted to post a BTS video from his account because I’m an asshole regularly but even moreso when I’m bored in the car.

5:11pm: NEWS ALERT I just stole Henry’s phone and tossed it in the backseat to Chooch who is now attempting to post my video of Astro from yesterday’s failed kpop expo!!!

5:19pm: DAMMIT he deleted it during the last Sheetz stop but at least I have a screenshot.

5:58pm: WE’RE HOME! GOING TO SMOTHER THE CATS WITH HUGS! BYE!

PS came home to a DEAD MOUSE on the floor thanks PENELOPE. But also my BIGBANG shower curtain is here!